Leading Stories, Articles

December 1st, 2011

R.I. ranked first for mental illness, suicide attempts

By Pamela Berard

Rhode Island recently was atop two national studies, indicating the state had the highest rate of mental illness and suicide attempts. In a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study, R.I. had the highest rate of any mental illness among those ages 18 and older, at 24.2 percent. The national average was 19.7. Mass. was at 20.2; Conn., 19.7; N.H., 19.6; Maine, 20.9; and Vt., 19.7. R.I. also topped the SAMSHA study for serious mental illness, with a 7.2 rate (the national average was 4.6; no other New England state topped 4.7). Additionally, in a Centers for Disease Control [More]

December 1st, 2011

Young addicts need aid to change

By Janine Weisman

Young adults with severe addiction problems genuinely want to become clean and sober. They just don’t know how to do it, says a new study by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Minnesota-based Butler Center for Research at Hazelden. Researchers say they were surprised by the high degree of motivation reported by 18 to 24-year-olds in the study at the time they entered a multidisciplinary 12-step-based residential treatment program. But the subjects had low coping skills, self-confidence and low commitment to support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, according to [More]

December 1st, 2011

Reduced SSI checks means drop in aid for mentally ill

By Jennifer E Chase

After months of voicing frustration and taking legal action over proposed cuts to their Supplementary Security Income (SSI) in the fall, Rhode Island’s elderly and disabled are losing their battle. The state’s Supreme Court has upheld the cuts as they were originally outlined and passed in Rhode Island’s budget. The cuts are part of an overall slash to state-wide human services, which will allegedly save the state some $900,000. In complaints argued before a rotating lineup of judges in September and October, plaintiffs claimed that since the people suffering the cuts are mostly elderly and mentally ill, the cuts targeted [More]

December 1st, 2011

Study: Self-harm patients not receiving mental health evaluations

By Pamela Berard

About half of self-harm patients treated in hospital emergency rooms and discharged did not receive a mental health evaluation before being sent home, according to a recent study. Mark Olfson, M.D., a psychiatrist at Columbia University and his colleagues examined a year’s worth of Medicaid claims. In 7,355 episodes of deliberate self-harm, 4,595 were discharged without being hospitalized (including more than one visit by some individuals). Of those discharged, 47.5 percent had received a mental health assessment in the emergency department and 52.4 percent received a follow-up outpatient mental health visit within 30 days. Olfson says adults who present to [More]

December 1st, 2011

Farm provides alternative to typical residential facility

By Jennifer E Chase

Gould Farm in Western, Mass., believes its few hundred acres is the perfect place for learning to cope and live with mental illness. Located among the Bay State’s bucolic Berkshire Mountains, in two short years it will turn 100 years old. And as the country’s oldest residential therapeutic community, it still does what founders William J. and Agnes Gould intended: provide psychosocial rehabilitation in a nurturing and non-institutional environment for adults age 18 and older. What separates Gould from other residential facilities is that the “farm” in its name isn’t for decoration. In 29 houses on 650 acres, staff and [More]

December 1st, 2011

Work with Asperger’s children highlighted

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For children with Asperger’s disorder, along with parents, educators and mental health professionals who work with them, establishing relationships can be difficult and frustrating but not, as it turns out, impossible. For years, the professional line on children and adults with Asperger’s and autism was that they were not capable of certain levels of emotional connection. But the people on the front lines knew differently from working with individuals with these conditions and recognizing their uniqueness. Richard Bromfield, Ph.D., a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and a clinical psychologist with a practice in Brookline, Mass., has worked with Asperger’s [More]

December 1st, 2011

Psychologist wins Nobel Prize

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

When this year’s Nobel Prize winners were announced in October, there was a psychologist on the list. Sweden’s Tomas Tranströmer is not the first psychologist to win a Nobel Prize, but he is the first to win one for poetry. The news is at once surprising and overdue – surprising because previous Nobel honors for psychological work have gone to staunch empiricists, overdue because of the strong conceptual links between psychology and poetry. In a Sept. 2003 article in the American Psychologist, “Behavioral Science and the Nobel Prize,” Ludy Benjamin Jr. traces the history of the Nobel Prize with particular [More]

December 1st, 2011

Functional Behavioral Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

By Ennio Cipani and Kevin M. Schock Springer Publishing Company, LLC New York, NY, 2011 Resource ideal for university coursework Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D   As the title suggests, this book has applied behavior analysis (ABA) as its central philosophy and orientation. Specifically, the content focuses on functional assessment and assessment-derived treatment procedures that have evidence-based research support. Cipani and Schock wrote the book to provide “a comprehensive approach to designing behavioral treatments for children in homes and residential facilities, students in special and general education settings and adults residing in inpatient units and facilities.” The [More]

November 1st, 2011

Deployment-related stress disorders on the increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Few psychologists would challenge the notion that the ongoing Middle East conflicts are producing record numbers of behavioral health problems in military personnel. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 9.3 percent of veterans age 21-39 experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year; slightly more than half reported severe impairment in at least one of four role domains: home, work, relationships or social life, and 59.6 percent received treatment for depression. This increase in deployment stress-related disorders is prompting closer examination within the psychological community. The best way to understand what [More]

November 1st, 2011

Health care reform offers options

By Nan Shnitzler

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains under legal attack even while its provisions begin to take effect. While there’s plenty of information about the PPACA and behavioral health at the American Psychological Association Web site, among others, two health policy analysts with New England connections noticed that not much had been written in the popular press. So they compiled a three-page précis in The New England Journal of Medicine, published online Aug. 17, that lays out how health care reform will improve access to care and address system fragmentation – and describes the challenges that remain. “We [More]