General, Articles

March 5th, 2020

Creating a professional will

By Catherine Robertson Souter

No one likes to think about dying or becoming unexpectedly incapacitated. Still, as human beings, we all know our time is limited, even if we do not know exactly how long we have. Beyond the frightening prospect of “what comes after,” the logical next thought should be, what will we leave behind? Just like for parents of young children, the idea that there are people who depend on you, who rely on your care, your expertise and the practical aspects of the relationship, should be of great concern to therapists. And, as many new parents do, setting up alternative plans [More]

March 5th, 2020

Study shows social media isn’t all negative — or positive

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Is social media helpful or harmful to our mental health? So far, the research has been “contradictory and inconclusive,” according to Mesfin A. Bekalu, Ph.D, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bekalu noted that this was his inspiration to conduct a study examining the effects of social media. The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found a more nuanced response: how individuals used social media had a significant impact on their mental health and social well-being. “In essence, we found that [it] is not [More]

March 4th, 2020

Wild Acre & Mental Health Solutions uses home-based health care for mentally ill

By Eileen Weber

About five years ago, New England Psychologist reported the Wild Acre Inn in Belmont, Mass., was changing hands. The residential treatment program, with several sites located within the Boston area, shuttered all but one by the fall of 2014. Bernard Yudowitz, MD, who ran the program since its founding in 1972, could not continue the program because of health issues. He called on John Sciretta, LICSW, for help. Sciretta was Wild Acre’s chief clinical officer from 1983 to 1996. He moved on to build a private practice that included supported apartments and home-based management care in the area. “I already [More]

March 4th, 2020

When an Asian-American student coughs in class, cue fear and xenophobia

By Janine Weisman

Since late January when the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, members of Chinese communities in the U.S. and elsewhere have reported feeling more pressure and bias toward them. Social media posts have documented incidents of people of Asian descent being harassed in public spaces, signs banning Chinese people from businesses, and other mistreatment. Catherine Vuky, Psy.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, Massachusetts, has seen a slight increase in referrals for children of Chinese descent who have been teased or bullied by peers [More]

January 5th, 2020

Hearing raises issue of parity, insurance rates

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As required by state law, the New Hampshire Insurance Department (NHID) hosts a public hearing each year to talk about health care costs and trends. The 2019 hearing, held in October, focused on the number of residents covered by insurance and the state’s progress on mental health parity. Eireann Sibley NHID communications director noted that the hearings are for the public and regular attendees include insurance company representatives, providers, academics, health care advocates, and legislators. According to published reports culled from data submitted by health insurance companies, the uninsured rate in New Hampshire did not change drastically in 2018 from [More]

January 4th, 2020

Can you gig it?

By Janine Weisman

It depends on the state where a psychologist lives Make your own hours. Choose your own patients. Keep records the way you want to. The advantage of being an independent contractor is maintaining control over the work you do. That’s why the California Psychological Association declared victory when psychologists in that state were exempted from a new law making it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors instead of traditional employees who receive Internal Revenue Service W2 statements from their employers. Physicians, podiatrists, and dentists are also exempt from the law set to take effect January 1, [More]

November 5th, 2019

Maine cracks down on vaping at schools

By Eileen Weber

A new law in Maine is cracking down on vaping by prohibiting tobacco, cigarettes, and e-cigarettes on school grounds. The law went into effect on September 19. One day later, the Bangor Daily News reported that the state had its first reported case of vaping-related illness. And, Centers for Disease Control Director Nirav Shah, MD, JD, made it clear that if you haven’t vaped yet, don’t start now. “People who do not vape should not start,” he said, “and people who do should seriously consider the health risks in using e-cigarette products.” According to Maine’s CDC, nearly four percent of [More]

November 4th, 2019

Study identifies resiliency strategies for family members of violent patients

By Susan Gonsalves

Family members of people with severe mental illness and violent tendencies often feel confused and isolated. Mental health professionals can help them by increasing their knowledge of mental illness and introducing them to strategies to ease the burden. That conclusion came from research led by Karyn Sporer, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maine. She and her team used in-depth, ethnographic interviews with 42 parents and siblings of violent children with severe mental illness to generate data and identify coping methods. Her results, published in the Journal of Family Issues, highlighted ways that families said they are [More]

November 4th, 2019

Lawsuit against Harvard intensifies focus on role of college mental health services

By Janine Weisman

One in four members of Harvard University’s Class of 2023 is Asian-American, according to demographic statistics on the university’s website. So, a recent report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting that found six of at least nine Harvard undergraduates who died by suicide between the years 2007 and 2017 were of Asian descent should raise an alarm for college mental health services. One of those suicides was Luke Tang, who took his own life in a campus residence hall at the start of his sophomore year in September 2015. Tang’s father Wendell Tang, M.D., filed a lawsuit against [More]

October 10th, 2019

Evidence doesn’t support claim linking mental illness, mass shooters

By Janine Weisman

The evidence suggests mass shootings perpetrated by individuals with mental illness account for less than one percent of gun-related homicides. But you wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s comments after a pair of mass shootings during the first weekend in August killed more than 30 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Among Trump’s widely reported quotes: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” “The president is poorly informed about the research on gun violence generally and mass gun violence in particular,” said Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., JD, a professor in the doctoral program in clinical [More]