General, Articles

July 4th, 2019

CT bill holds insurance companies accountable

By Eileen Weber

Connecticut’s House of Representatives recently approved a bill requiring insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment at the same level as physical health. Taking a step further, House Bill 7125, known as An Act Concerning Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits, also requires insurance companies to submit annual documentation to prove their compliance with the legislation. Representative Sean Scanlon, (D-Guilford/Branford), chairman of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee, led the House in May to a unanimous vote. The legislation is awaiting action in the Senate. This bill is the second iteration of an earlier version that didn’t [More]

July 4th, 2019

Flaws in healthcare system outlined in book

By New England Psychologist Staff

There is no such thing as a perfect system and in the case of the mentally ill, nothing could be truer. People with mental illness face an uphill battle to secure appropriate services, avoid being caught up in the criminal justice system, and most of all, steer clear of the revolving door that has become our mental health system. Lynn Nanos, a mobile emergency psychiatric clinician, believes it is time for a change. Her book, Breakdown: A Clinicians Experience in a Broken System of Emergency Psychiatry reads like a clarion call to all involved in mental health care in this [More]

July 4th, 2019

New APA guidelines for girls and women put focus on strengths

By Janine Weisman

The empowering #MeToo hashtag didn’t exist yet when the American Psychological Association (APA) issued its first practice guidelines for treating girls and women in 2007. Now, the updated version of these APA guidelines acknowledges the strength and resilience many girls and women possess to overcome adversity from the effects of sexism, oppression, discrimination, and prejudice. Released in May, the new APA guidelines follow the release of recommendations for treating boys and men published last year. Previous guidelines for psychological practice include those for working with racial and ethnic minorities, older adults, LGBT clients, and people with disabilities. “We don’t mean to [More]

May 29th, 2019

Treating mind and body at the heart of rehabilitation psychology specialty

By Phyllis Hanlon

Individuals across the spectrum require care from a rehabilitation psychologist. Tim Belliveau, Ph.D., ABPP, director of postdoctoral training & research at the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain, Connecticut said pediatric patients with pervasive mental disabilities, individuals who suffered traumatic brain injuries, stroke or spinal cord injuries, and athletes with torn muscles are among those who may seek help. Elderly patients with age-related physical and/or cognitive decline also could require the services of a rehab psychologist “…to help maximize overall health and encourage a sense of personal choice and independence.” Established in 1958, Division 22, Rehabilitation Psychology, was one [More]

May 29th, 2019

Massachusetts bans conversion therapy for minors

By Eileen Weber

Massachusetts became the 16th state to ban conversion therapy, a method attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity by treating it as if it’s a mental illness. Sometimes referred to as “reparative therapy,” tactics range from shaming the person to using painful physical stimulation like electric shocks. In early April, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a bill banning licensed health care professionals from providing this practice to anyone under 18. Fifteen other states and Washington D.C. have already banned conversion therapy, with California being the first in 2012. Massachusetts joins Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and [More]

May 29th, 2019

Mental health courts offer alternative path to recovery

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 2007, Judge Kathleen Coffey sought a way to help those with mental health disorders who were facing imprisonment. Mental Health Court offers an alternative path to recovery while avoiding incarceration. Joan Taglieri, senior director of clinical operations for the Boston Medical Center Department of Psychiatry, explained that the Mental Health Court is a specialized diversionary court session that facilitates access to intensive social services and mental health treatment to assist participants in maintaining stability, achieving recovery, and avoiding incarceration. This special court session is a collaborative effort within the courts between the probation department, the Suffolk County district attorney’s [More]

May 29th, 2019

Looking both ways

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Looking forward to my 50th college reunion this month and backward to what I learned during those four years, I am surprised by the power of a teacher’s words to strike a responsive chord that has been vibrating in my life through the passing decades. So, come with me to the leafy campus of suburban university in the late 1960s, to classroom in a Gothic style building made of gray Pennsylvania fieldstone. We sit at wooden desks on seats attached to a flat writing surface that spreads out from a single arm of our chairs, a right arm for right-handers, [More]

May 29th, 2019

Assessment teams factoring into Rhode Island, ME health care

By Eileen Weber

Patients with mental health issues too often end up in emergency rooms with nowhere else to go. ERs in Maine reported approximately 16 patients per 1,000 had mental health issues between 2011 and 2014, according to the latest statistics. “We know people are waiting in ERs from seven to 14 days for a bed rather than getting immediate care,” said Jenna Mehnert, MSW, executive director of NAMI Maine. “ERs should be ERs, not mental health institutions.” The state is working on an alternative option to ease the burden. In February, a bill was proposed that would offer four mental health [More]

May 28th, 2019

Weighing the pros and cons of insurance is crucial

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Setting up a new practice, while potentially rewarding in many ways, can also be stressful and overwhelming. There are decisions to be made, from location and staffing to marketing, hours, and when to open your doors. One of the most important decisions to make for anyone starting out, changing locations, or moving into solo or a new group practice will be whether to accept insurance payments. While there are pros and cons to both sides, it’s a personal decision based on several factors including the practice type, location, and professional goals. No one answer can suit every practice and the [More]

May 28th, 2019

Vermont’s medication assisted treatment program shows encouraging results

By Catherine Robertson Souter

For the first time since 1918 during WWI when a flu pandemic swept the nation, life expectancy in the U.S. has dropped for each of the last three years. Suicide and drug overdose are edging the country downward. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 72,000 drug overdoses in 2017, up from 63,000 in 2016. New England has seen its fair share of the crisis, with New Hampshire among the worst in the county with a rate of 34 deaths per 100,000 in 2017, more than double the national average of 14.6. Vermont saw a rate of 20 [More]