Leading Stories, Articles

July 1st, 2010

Excessive emailing/texting: The newest addiction?

By Phyllis Hanlon

In June 2008, the British Broadcasting System (BBC) published a story about two adolescents in Spain undergoing treatment at the Child and Youth Mental Health Centre near Barcelona for dependency on their mobile phones. Studies out of South Korea, China and Australia have also raised questions about potential cell phone addiction. While concerns around the globe about compulsive emailing and texting via cell phone are growing, the jury is still out on whether or not this behavior actually constitutes addiction. To date, no formal studies have been conducted in the United States, but some respected groups have released pertinent data. [More]

July 1st, 2010

Vermont’s Challenges for Change seeks reductions via efficiencies

By Nan Shnitzler

Last November, the Vermont Department of Mental Health faced budget cuts in excess of $20 million for the 2011 fiscal year. When the legislature adjourned its session in the wee hours May 13, the cut had been trimmed to about $3 million. Credit a slightly improved economy, a few more federal dollars and a state budget approach called Challenges for Change. Challenges for Change is legislation designed to fund desirable outcomes by focusing on efficiencies rather than eliminating services and hiking taxes. On paper, it saved nearly $38 million of a $150 million budget deficit in a total state budget [More]

July 1st, 2010

New Hampshire Hospital trims services/staff

By Phyllis Hanlon

Budget shortfalls are once again prompting staff and service cuts in the Green Mountain State. According to Nancy Rollins, associate commissioner for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), both programmatic and physical changes planned for New Hampshire Hospital are intended to accommodate patients’ needs and work within a reduced budget. As of June 30, the Anna Philbrook building, originally constructed as a long-term residential facility with a full school program, will be shuttered. While admissions have continued to decline, Anna Philbrook’s physical condition also raised concerns in recent years. “Several proposals suggested building a new unit or adding [More]

July 1st, 2010

Half-finished notebooks

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

At morning rounds the other day while waiting for something important to record in my recycled, spiral-bound notebook, curiosity nudged me to flip through the filled front pages for a clue about why I kept it in the first place. Considering how much stuff I had to clear out of my old office, it would have been easier to trash this early decade relic than to give it space among the 18 boxes of essentials that accompanied me to my new workplace. My motivation was probably not so noble as stewardship of the earth’s dwindling resources nor so old-fashioned as [More]

July 1st, 2010

Public Speaking for Psychologists

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“Public Speaking for Psychologists: A Lighthearted Guide to Research Presentations, Job Talks, and Other Opportunities to Embarrass Yourself” By David B. Feldman and Paul J. Silvia American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2010  Authors offer ‘spot on’ advice about public speaking Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Remember your first oral presentation at a conference, grand rounds or similar professional venue? Most of us were anxious and filed with self-doubt. “Public Speaking for Psychologists” was written for the first-time or novice presenter in need of direction and moral support. The book is constructed as a practical guide, its many [More]

July 1st, 2010

Clinician’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practices: Mental Health and the Addictions

By Paul Efthim PhD

“Clinician’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practices: Mental Health and the Addictions” By John C. Norcross, Thomas P. Hogan & Gerald P. Koocher Oxford University Press, Inc. New York, N.Y., 2008 Psychologists author pocket-sized, practical primer Reviewed By Paul Efthim, Ph.D. Most psychologists know about the controversies surrounding evidence-based practice (EBP). In recent years, EBPs have been vilified as simplistic, mindless cookbooks that ignore the complexity of real-world clinical practice while privileging technical factors over the centrality of the therapeutic relationship. At the same time, no responsible practitioner would argue that we should ignore research evidence in determining what works and what [More]

July 1st, 2010

Lawsuit seeks delay or revision of parity regulations

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The fight for full parity between mental health and physical health care coverage could soon be drawing to a close…or not. In February, several federal agencies, including the Department of Health and Human Services, released a series of regulations governing how the 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) will be implemented. The Interim Final Rules (IFR) would become law for group health plans and group health insurance issuers for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010. However, shortly after the release of those rules, a lawsuit was filed by the Coalition for Parity, which represents [More]

July 1st, 2010

Providing care is an ongoing challenge

By Ami Albernaz

Mental health care doesn’t carry the stigma it once did and more is understood about mental health disorders than ever before. Yet millions of those meeting the criteria for a psychological disorder still don’t receive care, presenting an ongoing challenge in how to improve access and make sure effective treatments are delivered. Around 26 percent of U.S. adults meet the criteria for a disorder within a given year, while the lifetime prevalence is around 46 percent. These were the conclusions of the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded study of more than 9,000 adults first done [More]

July 1st, 2010

Firms place limits on mental health treatment

By Elinor Nelson

Psychologists may be seeing more managed care from their patients’ insurers. Faced with increasing costs, some employers and insurers are controlling utilization by authorizing limited numbers of sessions and requiring forms or phone calls to allow additional sessions. A year ago, one major employer changed its policies. That party was the Group Insurance Commission, which insures about 180,000 Massachusetts state employees and retirees and their dependents, totaling about 340,000 people. Executive Director Dolores Mitchell explains the changes actually affect the policies of about 294,000 of those people, and amounts to about the approximately 10 percent of that group who access [More]

July 1st, 2010

Programs seek to assist children with mental health issues

By Ami Albernaz

Mental health care doesn’t carry the stigma it once did and more is understood about mental health disorders than ever before. Yet millions of those meeting the criteria for a psychological disorder still don’t receive care, presenting an ongoing challenge in how to improve access and make sure effective treatments are delivered. Around 26 percent of U.S. adults meet the criteria for a disorder within a given year, while the lifetime prevalence is around 46 percent. These were the conclusions of the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS), a National Institutes of Mental Health-funded study of more than 9,000 adults first done [More]