Leading Stories, Articles

October 1st, 2018

Youth Villages closes residential program for girls in Mass.

By Janine Weisman

A residential treatment program for girls with emotional and behavioral problems in Arlington, Massachusetts, shut down in September after a decision by its parent organization to shift focus to community-based services. That decision impacted 150 staff members at the Germaine Lawrence campus on Claremont Avenue operated by the national private non-profit Youth Villages. The vast majority of positions are direct care staff, including several master’s level and licensed positions, nursing and maintenance staff. The program is licensed to serve a maximum of 72 girls between the ages of 12 and 22. But there were only 48 girls on site when [More]

September 14th, 2018

Isolation and LGBTQ youth: Social, psychological and financial implications

By Phyllis Hanlon

This project was supported by a grant from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). In a 2017 Washington Post article, former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy cited emotional well-being and loneliness as one of today’s big public health worries. While the average American might experience isolation and disconnectedness at various times during their lives because of intense career involvement, age discrimination, geographic remoteness or for other reasons, many youth who identify as LGBTQ endure isolation, broken relationships and disconnections on an ongoing basis, sometimes with devastating results. According to David Oberleitner, Ph.D, chair, department of psychology, University of [More]

August 31st, 2018

Conversion therapy ban passes in New Hampshire, fails in Massachusetts and is vetoed in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a movement that seems to be growing, a ban on mental health professionals providing conversion therapy for people under 18 has been signed into law in 15 states. There have been five bans this year alone. In June, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill banning the practice in that state. “There has been a real cultural shift,” said Shannon Bader, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., the legislative chair for the New Hampshire Psychological Association. “We were the 14th state with an outright ban.” Historically, conversion therapy has included everything from instruction on why and how to change to shaming the [More]

August 30th, 2018

Border separation takes emotional toll on children

By Eileen Weber

Reports of family separation at the Mexican border set off a firestorm. Video and audio demonstrated the conditions in which the more than 3,000 children lived. An estimated 1,600 parents are still in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With reunification underway, the Trump administration recently admitted that more than 450 immigrant parents separated from their children may have been deported. “I find Trump’s policy of separating children from parents shocking, appalling, and extremely cruel,” said Richard McNally, Ph.D, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University. McNally has focused much of his [More]

August 29th, 2018

Goldwater Rule is re-visited

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1964, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater issued some alarming “extremist” statements, drawing criticism from the general public and some mental health professionals. The uproar prompted FACT magazine to survey 12,356 psychiatrists regarding Goldwater’s mental health status. While none of the respondents had personally spoken with or examined Goldwater, they provided negative opinions on his psychological health, deeming him unfit to serve as president of the United States. In the wake of serious backlash following the release of the survey results, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) passed the “Goldwater Rule,” which made it unethical for a psychiatrist to issue a statement [More]

August 29th, 2018

Treatment resistance is challenge for practitioners

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Patient X doesn’t show up for an appointment–again. He calls and explains that his dog was sick/mother needed a ride/ car broke down. Client J is late for nearly every appointment. Patient K offers every excuse she can think of for why a particular solution will not work for her–no matter the solution. Patient N, a teenager, is openly critical of you, your clothes, your hair, and your skills as a therapist. No one said that life as a therapist would be easy. No matter the population–younger, older, more or less seriously ill, there are at least one or two [More]

August 29th, 2018

CDC report shows challenge facing public health campaign goals to prevent suicide

By Janine Weisman

The World Health Organization wants to reduce the suicide rate by 10 percent by 2020. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Project 2025 wants to reduce it 20 percent by 2025. The Zero Suicide movement aims to prevent 100 percent of suicides in the first 30 days after a patient is discharged from inpatient or day treatment. Are these goals realistic when new federal data show the reverse has actually been happening? Twenty-five states saw their suicide rates rise by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2016, including four of the six New England states. That’s according to a [More]

August 28th, 2018

RI police group concerned about mental health training

By Eileen Weber

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association backed late-session legislation in June that attempted to overturn a 2016 law requiring mental health training for police officers. Complying with the National Council of Behavioral Health’s flagship program, Mental Health First Aid USA, it teaches the skills to recognize mental illness, helps assess the risks, and connect individuals with the necessary care. “Mental health training is targeted in how to respond and deescalate the situation,” said Beth Lamarre, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Rhode Island. With nearly two million mentally ill individuals booked into jails every year, the [More]

July 7th, 2018

School psychologists: In a class of their own

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), school psychology has “…evolved as a specialty area with core knowledge rooted in psychology and education.” Once focused primarily on assessments, today’s school psychologists undergo advanced training, leading to deeper knowledge and understanding of developmental stages, culture, environment, and social emotional issues as they currently apply to school systems. Graduate students who choose to become school psychologists have two certification options, according to Sandra M. Chafouleas, Ph.D. Chafouleas is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor in the department of educational psychology, Neag School of Education. She is also co-director of the Collaboratory on [More]

July 7th, 2018

ME Gov. LePage continues push for step-down unit in Bangor

By Janine Weisman

Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage’s effort to build a privately run 21-bed stepdown unit for Augusta’s Riverview Psychiatric Center on state land in Bangor has quietly resumed with a developer’s permit application filed with the Bangor Planning Board. Bangor Holdings LLC in Hermon submitted an application and site development plan on May 30 to build a one-story, 9,536 square foot secure forensic rehabilitation facility on State Hospital Drive on the grounds of the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center. Although the application sought a site review, Bangor Planning Officer David Gould said the proposed 2.32-acre site would need a conditional use permit [More]