Leading Stories, Articles

February 8th, 2018

Psychologists help people navigate life transitions

By Phyllis Hanlon

Psychological intervention can help ease life’s transitions–everything from positive events like marriage, a new baby or career advancement to more dire situations such as divorce, chronic illness, injury or the death of a loved one. Emily Mohr, Ph.D, defines life transition as anything that shifts someone’s sense of self or identity that is not temporary, but happens because of the passage of time.” Mohr, public education coordinator for the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA), southern regional representative for the MPA Board of Directors and practitioner at Child & Family Psychological Services, PLLC, in Weymouth, Massachusetts noted, “Both happy and unhappy events [More]

February 7th, 2018

Grants to NAMI Rhode Island fund youth programs

By Pamela Berard

Two recent grants will help NAMI Rhode Island, the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, continue to enhance mental health education programs for young people. A $15,000 Rhode Island Foundation grant will allow NAMI to increase training opportunities and add presenters for Ending the Silence, a classroom program that was first developed by an Illinois NAMI chapter and is now one of the national organization’s signature education and support programs. “We were trained up on this program for the first time last year and we saw the promise in it, because it offers some new things that [More]

February 7th, 2018

Trauma training, reality TV all in a day’s work for Jessica Griffin, Psy.D

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When a television producer first asked Jessica Griffin, PsyD, if she would consider taking an on-air consultant role on an upcoming reality show, she scoffed at the idea. An associate professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at UMass Medical School and executive director of UMASS Medical School’s Child Trauma Training Center with a private clinical practice in the Worcester area, Griffin did not see herself as the reality-show type. Still, with some prodding from Hollywood and much discussion with colleagues, friends and family, Griffin decided to jump in. She first served as a consulting psychologist on the show, “Seven Year Switch,” [More]

February 6th, 2018

Report documents problems at Maine detention center

By Janine Weisman

Understaffing has contributed to “dangerous and unhealthy conditions for both youth and staff” at Maine’s only state juvenile detention center, an independent report finds. Seven vacant Juvenile Program Worker positions at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland led to the use of regular forced overtime last year when the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) was compiled. The overtime was necessary to achieve a required staff to youth ratio of 1:8 during waking hours and 1:16 during overnight hours. The report made public in December was commissioned by the Maine Juvenile [More]

February 5th, 2018

More work to be done to meet need for child mental health services

By Janine Weisman

No clinician would dispute using the word “crisis” to describe the reality that despite greater public awareness about mental disorders in youth, many young people with severe mental disorders never receive the specialty mental health care they need. “I think there has been a crisis for some time,” said Robert P. Franks, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Judge Baker Children’s Center (JBCC) in Boston and a member of the American Psychological Association’s Board of Professional Affairs. “Most estimates are that only 20 to 40 percent of kids that need mental health services get them.” As many as [More]

January 1st, 2018

Treatment varies for sexual offenders

By Phyllis Hanlon

Clinicians who treat sexual offenders tailor treatment to the offense. Throughout her career Susan Rudman, Ph.D., Northern Regional representative for the Massachusetts Psychological Association, member of the MPA board of directors, forensic psychologist and private practitioner in Salem, Mass., has treated hundreds of males, and a handful of females, who present with various underlying reasons for sexually offensive behavior. From a chaotic family life as a child and “male rage” to the need to exert power over another and “distortion issues,” such as poor social skills, each offender has usually experienced some sort of trauma, she said. Most of Rudman’s [More]

January 1st, 2018

Anti-clawback bill makes progress in legislature

By Janine Weisman

A proposed six-month limit on the ability of insurance companies to retroactively deny claims for mental health and substance abuse services has advanced in the Massachusetts Legislature. Language to impose the limit was included in an amendment in the comprehensive health care control bill that passed the Senate in early November 2017. The measure seeks to restrict managed care insurance companies from recouping payments already made to health providers for services rendered. The practice is known as a clawback, and it can happen when a later determination is made that a patient was not covered at the time of services [More]

January 1st, 2018

‘Weinstein effect’ comes to campus

By Janine Weisman

He was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Then allegations of decades of sexual assault and harassment dethroned film producer Harvey Weinstein last fall, rocking not just the film industry but news outlets and politics as well. As the list of high-profile men dismissed from their jobs after being accused of sexual misconduct grew longer every day, news reports showed academia was not immune to the so-called “Weinstein effect.” Colleges large and small launched probes after a wave of complaints about bad behavior by faculty targeting students surfaced at schools including Berklee College of Music, Boston University, [More]

January 1st, 2018

Minors can be treated without permission

By Pamela Berard

Vermont minors can now consent to receive outpatient treatment from a mental health professional without the consent of a parent or legal guardian. Newly enacted legislation, “An act relating to consent by minors for mental health treatment” went into effect Jan. 1. “Outpatient treatment” in the context of the act refers to psychotherapy and other counseling services that are supportive, but not prescription drugs. Originally, the legislation was drafted specifically to allow minors to consent to mental health treatment for conditions related to the minor’s “sexual orientation or gender identity.” Rick Barnett, Psy.D., M.S., LADC, the Vermont Psychological Association’s legislative [More]

January 1st, 2018

Harrington Health Care System to open behavioral health clinic in CT

By Phyllis Hanlon

Harrington Health Care System, based in Southbridge, Mass., has recently been extending its reach, particularly in the area of behavioral health services. Early in 2018, the hospital system will establish an out-of-state presence in Putnam, Connecticut when it opens a behavioral health clinic there. According to Caitlin Adams, LICSW, director of mental health for the Harrington Health Care System, the hospital has been providing a variety of services to residents in Connecticut for some time. “We’re seeing more patients from the border towns like Brooklyn, Woodstock and Putnam,” she said. A resident of Putnam, Adams is intimately aware of the [More]