Leading Stories, Articles

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]

November 5th, 2020

Practical Practice: Getting people the help they need

By Catherine Robertson Souter

According to a study published in August by the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. adults have reported three times the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder and four times the prevalence of symptoms of depressive disorder compared with the same time period in 2019. Even if the figures cannot be compared directly, as the CDC report points out that the methodology was not identical, the numbers are alarming. One quarter of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, 13 percent reported an increase in substance use and 11 percent reported an increase in suicidal ideation. Luckily, Americans are also reaching [More]

November 5th, 2020

Racial disparity in the criminal justice system

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), Southern states, post-Civil War, utilized criminal justice as a way to maintain control over African Americans. A loophole in the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, enabled these states to pass “Black Codes,” a system that involved the arrest and imprisonment of African Americans. The Latino population has faced similar discriminatory practices when it comes to the criminal justice system. The Pew Research Center conducted a bilingual phone survey of 2,015 Hispanic adults in 2008 and found that four percent of this population was in prison/jail or on [More]

November 5th, 2020

National Suicide Hotline soon to become three-digit number: 988

By Eileen Weber

In two years, the U.S. will have another three-digit emergency code: 988. In a co-sponsored bill proposed last year by Massachusetts State Representative Seth Moulton and Utah State Representative Chris Stewart, that number will directly connect callers with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In July, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously voted to designate 988 as the national number for mental health emergencies. Until now, the access line has been the 10-digit number 1-800-273-8255. But like its emergency counterpart, 988 is far easier to remember and quicker to dial. A surcharge is slated to be connected to it as a [More]

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