Leading Stories, Articles

May 11th, 2021

Returning to pre-pandemic life presents many challenges

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A switch flipped last year when, quite suddenly, nearly everything stopped. For most of us, our daily lives turned upside down. We took a huge step back, didn’t leave our homes, moved online for work and school, and were forced to find other ways to entertain ourselves. Looking back, it seems shocking how quickly the brakes were pulled. Thirteen months later, we are moving closer to a possible end to this pandemic. With no flip to switch to move back towards normal, the process will be slower and full of questions. Plus, the end is not guaranteed with the rise [More]

May 11th, 2021

New rule prohibits ‘information blocking’ & allows patients greater access to records

By Catherine Robertson Souter

On April 5, a new rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services took effect that could impact mental health care professionals’ use of electronic health records (EHR). The ruling prohibits “information blocking,” or any practice that might restrict a patient’s or other health care entity’s ability to immediately access health records. The rule does not change any HIPAA patient harm and privacy protections, but it does eliminate the 30-day allowance provided in that act for responding to patients’ requests for access to their electronic records. Enacted as part of the 2016 21st Century Cures Act, the information [More]

May 11th, 2021

Anti-Asian hate intensifies as pandemic lingers

By Eileen Weber

Three bystanders witnessed an Asian American woman being viciously attacked in front of a luxury condo in New York and did nothing to intervene. An Asian man was brutally beaten unconscious on a New York subway while other riders watched. Another Asian man out for his morning walk in San Francisco was slammed to the ground causing brain hemorrhaging from which he later died. A mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta saw eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. Anti-Asian hate crimes are up in the U.S. and these few examples are just the tip of the [More]

April 13th, 2021

COVID-19 is impacting pediatric mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

Research clearly demonstrates that the pandemic is having a significant negative effect on the younger generation. A November 2020 article, “Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations,” found both short-term and long-term “psychosocial and mental health implications” in this population. The article was published in Psychiatry Research. The authors noted that severity of the impact is subject to certain vulnerability factors including developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health conditions, low economic status, and quarantine because of or fear of infection. The increase in requests for treatment and lengthy wait [More]

March 8th, 2021

Impact of pandemic on ’emerging adults’ should not be overlooked

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans. From weddings to holidays to vacation travel, we have all been impacted. School children struggle with online classwork and parents with managing a house full of people. Seniors have had to face increased health risks and the effects of the isolation meant to protect them. “There is something lost,” said Jeffrey Arnett, Ph.D, senior research scholar at Clark University. “We have all cancelled parties and family events and vacations and little things like dinners with friends. You do lose something and I think we all have to be honest about [More]

March 8th, 2021

Equity, diversity issues should be at forefront of psychologists’ work

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There may be some positive to come out of the tumult. In a year when America was forced to slow down and, for many of us, begin to question what really matters, the conversation around racism and what can be done to address issues of equality has taken center stage. We have all begun to ask, when faced with these questions, “But, what can I do about it?” The call has gone up throughout the country for the creation of more diverse, equitable and inclusive (DEI) workplaces, schools and public services. DEI is an area where psychologists should have valuable [More]

February 10th, 2021

Dealing with on-going trauma a consequence of 2020 issues

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Twenty-twenty (2020) was a really long year. As one Twitter user posted, “Just don’t ask, ‘What else can happen?’ 2020 takes it as a challenge.” In the past 12 months, we have had wildfires, a world-wide pandemic, racial justice protests and counter-protests, a difficult election year, and murder hornets (!). And, even though we are well into a new year, we are not even close to out of it. Last year feels like it has never ended. People are done. People want the pandemic to be over but it is not. They want the election year divisiveness to be over but [More]

February 9th, 2021

Connecticut’s emergency shelters take financial hit in pandemic as abuse rises

By Eileen Weber

Across the country, reports of domestic abuse have been on the rise during the pandemic. In December 2020, the New England Journal of Medicine cited this increase, calling it a “pandemic within a pandemic.” Although calls for help dropped as much as 50 percent in some regions, that didn’t mean the violence stopped. It just wasn’t being reported. Isolated at home, many victims were trapped inside with their abusers. The National Domestic Violence Hotline issued a snapshot in the spring. In March 2020, volume had decreased by six percent in comparison to the same time the previous year. But by [More]

February 9th, 2021

Adoption of QAnon beliefs similar to cult following

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Despite vast evidence to the contrary and more than 60 lost court cases, more than half of Republican voters believed that the presidential election in November was actually won by Donald Trump, according to multiple polls done since November. Across America, there is also strong support for the idea that the media cannot be trusted and that there are secret “deep state” bureaucrats within the government working to undermine democracy. Further, according to an NPR/Ipsos poll done in December, conspiracy theories posited by QAnon, (that Democratic leaders and Hollywood personalities are part of a secret cabal of pedophiles who molest [More]

January 12th, 2021

Spike in alcohol use is of concern

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As stay-at-home orders surged, restaurants and bars closed, and social events went virtual, Americans turned more and more to a trusty old friend, alcohol, to help ease the transition. Nightly Zoom cocktail parties became all the rage, with the apt title “Quarantini,” applied to just about anything one wants to drink during lockdown. According to a Nielsen report, alcohol sales increased by 54 percent for the week ending March 21. Online sales of alcohol increased by 262 percent and world health leaders began to warn the public about the health risks of the increased alcohol use they were seeing. A [More]

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