Leading Stories, Articles

May 13th, 2018

Vermont searches for solutions to increase bed capacity

By Janine Weisman

The Vermont House of Representatives Committee on Health Care has already come out against funding a temporary 12-bed forensic unit at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in Gov. Phil Scott’s proposed fiscal 2019 state budget. But during the appropriation process in early April, Senate members appeared more receptive toward the facility proposed to alleviate the demand on emergency rooms and psychiatric facilities around the state. “That’s a showdown between the Senate and the House that we get caught in the middle of,” said Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Melissa Bailey. “They’ve got to figure out where they’re going to [More]

May 12th, 2018

Plymouth’s Child and Family Services re-design creates stir

By Susan Gonsalves

Earlier this year, there was an outcry when word got out that the Emergency Services Program (ESP) operated by Child and Family Services in Plymouth was about to change. Executive Director Anne Sampaio, LICSW, noted that people feared the closure of the current office space on Long Pond Road in June would mean that people in 10 communities would be left without `walk-in’ aid or have to travel to the New Bedford site for help. The program provides crisis intervention for a variety of mental health and substance use disorders. The services include facilitating a placement in a treatment facility, [More]

May 11th, 2018

New behavioral units designed to enhance care

By Pamela Berard

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston, Maine, opened its new pediatric behavioral unit in early 2018 and is on track to open a new adult behavioral unit in 2019, as part of a three-year, $12 million improvement project. Project funding was partially funded through a capital campaign. Improvements include the relocation and remodeling of the pediatric and adult behavioral units, which will move to the main hospital; as well as renovations and expansion for the building supporting oncology, rheumatology, infusion, and other outpatient services. The new 13-bed pediatric behavioral unit provides specialized care for children and adolescents. It features [More]

May 10th, 2018

Transitional housing bridges gap for people with mental illness

By Eileen Weber

For a number of years, New Hampshire Hospital, the only psychiatric hospital in the state, has been massively overcrowded with too many patients and not enough beds. Patients had little choice but to leave the hospital only to find themselves living on the streets or seeking treatment in already crowded emergency rooms. “There needs to be an array of treatment that used to exist,” said Ken Norton, M.D., executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Right now, when patients are discharged, there’s very little step-down.” That’s starting to change. Legislation was recently passed [More]

May 10th, 2018

Vertical development: How to grow personally, professionally

By New England Psychologist Staff

With the required continuing education for practitioners, a great deal of the available offerings focus on ethics, skills, modalities, or new information gleaned from research. One’s professional development can resemble graduate course work, and this type of learning can be predominantly informative or horizontal in nature. In addition, with the number of therapies in the hundreds and growing, and the demands for evidence-based practice, what seems lost is that three decades of empirical research finds that, other than pre-existing client characteristics, individual therapist differences and the therapeutic relationship are the most robust indicators of outcome. Therefore, it makes sense to [More]

April 10th, 2018

In law and language, gun control talk raises red flags

By Janine Weisman

“This was a person who was sick, very sick,” President Donald Trump said at a Feb. 21 White House forum. Trump was referring to the 19-year-old shooter who used an AR-15 style assault rifle to gun down teachers and students at a high school in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14. The mass shooting left 17 dead. Calls for limiting the right to bear arms for people with mental health issues increased after the Parkland shooting, especially for red flag laws that would allow police to take firearms away from people suspected of being a danger to themselves or others. But [More]

April 9th, 2018

Helping to manage fear and anxiety

By Phyllis Hanlon

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida rocked the country and launched calls for stricter gun laws and better security measures in the nation’s schools. While such events are rare, all schools experience their share of crises on a smaller scale that challenge students’ well-being. To address a spectrum of situations, schools should implement a comprehensive plan that engages students, teachers and parents, and creates an environment of trust in partnership with community agencies. Arlene Silva, Ph.D, NCSP, chair in the school psychology department at William James College, emphasized that proactive measures are the best practice. “Number one is preparation,” [More]

April 9th, 2018

Lawsuit challenges unlimited civil commitments in Connecticut

By Janine Weisman

A Google search of Gloria Drummer’s name explains what led her to be involuntarily committed at Dutcher Hall in the Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown, Connecticut, after being found not competent to stand trial. On Sept. 25, 2015, Drummer, then aged either 57 or 58 according to news accounts, attacked a 27-year-old woman at random with a large knife outside a West Hartford CVS. The woman was treated at a hospital for multiple stab wounds to her head that were deemed non-life threatening. Two psychiatrists testified last fall that Drummer is no longer a danger to herself or others. Yet [More]

April 8th, 2018

Record keeping, licensing issues among legal concerns

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In general, people hire a lawyer only as a last resort. For a psychologist, that may mean a subpoena for a patient’s records has arrived, a contentious situation has arisen with an employee who needs to be let go, or the state licensing board has sent a notification of a disciplinary hearing. Legal issues can be overwhelming for anyone without a law degree but they can’t always be avoided. Questions that need to be answered correctly may include: When do confidentiality laws apply? How should a contract be terminated? What happens when one partner in a practice retires or dies? [More]

April 6th, 2018

Proposal to tax video games dropped by legislator

By Eileen Weber

With every school shooting, the conversation linking violence and video games resurfaces. The latest incident in Parkland, Florida was no exception. In some circles, video games were once again the suspected culprit. But, are they inextricably intertwined with violent crime? Shortly after the Florida shooting, Rhode Island Representative Robert Nardolillo (R-Coventry) proposed legislation taxing violent video games that are rated “mature” or higher using the subsequent revenue to fund school mental health counseling. He cited evidence that exposure to violence in young children indicates a likelier tendency toward aggressive behavior. Congressman Tom MacArthur (R) of New Jersey agreed with Nardolillo’s [More]