Leading Stories, Articles

May 16th, 2018

Brattleboro Retreat expands telepsychiatry services

By Pamela Berard

Following the successful launch of a pilot inpatient telepsychiatry program, the Brattleboro Retreat in Vermont has expanded its telepsychiatry services. In early 2017, a psychiatrist on the medical staff at the Retreat — a not-for-profit specialty psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital — moved out of state but wanted to stay involved. Brattleboro Retreat developed an inpatient model of telepsychiatry for the staffer to provide remote, real-time video consultation with patients. “It was very well received early on by patients as well as our staff and the physician involved,” said Mark McGee, M.D., chief medical officer. The Retreat has since hired [More]

May 14th, 2018

Mass. increases beds, facilities while other states remain stable

By Phyllis Hanlon

The psychiatric care landscape has shifted in recent years from an inpatient setting to community placement and back to in-hospital treatment. New England Psychologist surveyed the New England states to assess the current inpatient situation. Kathleen Remillard, public information officer (PIO) at New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services, reported that the state has had no psychiatric unit closures in the past year. Rather, New Hampshire has gained 20 new transitional housing beds for patients recently released from New Hampshire Hospital or other designated receiving facilities. Vermont has also added 20 youth psychiatric beds; and four mobile crisis apartments [More]

May 13th, 2018

Psychologists weigh benefits, challenges of working in inpatient hospital settings

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychologists today have opportunities to pursue several different professional career paths. New England Psychologist spoke to psychologists who practice in inpatient settings and found that this venue offers both rewards and challenges. Before retiring, Robert J. Kamman, Ph.D, of Raymond, Maine, spent 32 years working at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center in New York, where he conducted initial screenings on every admission and determined the necessity for assessments. His responsibilities also included administering tests, running group therapy sessions, collaborating with the art and music therapist, occasionally treating patients on an individual basis and frequently working with families. Throughout his career, the [More]

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]