General, Articles

May 11th, 2019

Baystate Health, US HealthVest to build hospital

By Phyllis Hanlon

In February, Baystate Health, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare system that serves more than 800,000 people across western Massachusetts, announced plans to construct and operate a new behavioral health hospital in this region of the Commonwealth. The project is a joint venture between Baystate Health and US HealthVest, a nationally known for-profit behavioral health care company that partners with existing health systems to improve access and expand inpatient psychiatric care and substance abuse services to underserved populations. Shelly Hazlett, manager of public affairs for Baystate Health, provided a press release that offered details on the project. According to the release, the [More]

March 25th, 2019

Gen Z’s worries highlighted in annual stress survey

By Susan Gonsalves

Generation Z, individuals ages 15 to 21, feel stressed out about ripped-from-the- headlines topics like school and mass shootings, sexual assault, and immigration according to the annual Stress in America™ survey by the American Psychological Association. The Harris Poll was conducted last summer online among 3,458 adults and 300 15 to 17-year-olds in all 50 states. Although 75 percent of Gen Z members found mass shootings `significantly’ stressful and 72 percent felt that way about school shootings, those kids of voting age were least likely to vote at 54 percent. The overall average had seven in 10 adults expecting to [More]

March 25th, 2019

Setting boundaries: an essential practice for psychologists

By Catherine Robertson Souter

We live in a time where boundaries, between people, between cultures, between sexes, are crashing down all around us. Boundaries are the walls that keep us from fulfilling our destiny or getting close to another human or limit freedom of speech and exchange of ideas and information. In the world of therapy, however, setting boundaries plays a different role. From protecting clients from being preyed upon to protecting the therapist from allegations of misconduct, strong boundaries can be crucial both ethically and legally. While it may be obvious that setting boundaries with and for patients benefits both client and therapist, [More]

March 25th, 2019

Draft of 10-year mental health plan release

By Catherine Robertson Souter

New Hampshire may soon see a major overhaul geared toward bringing the state’s mental health care system back to its former glory. For a system that has gone from being second in the country in 1990 as rated by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), to earning a D in a revised rating system in 2006, the announcement of a 10-year mental health plan was received with bated breath by stakeholders across the state. With input from residents, professionals, and focus groups, workgroups, and public sessions, the draft plan introduced in November begins by outlining the challenges faced [More]

March 25th, 2019

Playing the waiting game

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In the depths of winter and longing for spring, I am finding reminders everywhere of how much our lives are consumed by waiting. In the hospital, patients wait to be examined, to be found competent to stand trial, not criminally responsible for the actions that led to their confinement, for the voices to stop, to be allowed to go home. Mothers wait for their babies to be born and people everywhere wait for the results of lab tests, CT scans, and biopsies that will unlock the mysteries of health and illness and give them a glimpse of the future. Every [More]

March 11th, 2019

Survey: Access to mental health, substance use disorder care is a challenge for Massachusetts adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Data from the 2018 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey showed that 56.8 percent of adults ages 19 to 64 who sought help for mental health or substance abuse disorders experienced difficulties obtaining care. The problems included finding a provider who would see them at all or getting an appointment in a timely manner when it was needed. As a result, more than one-third of those adults went without help and 12.7 percent visited an emergency department to address those issues. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Urban Institute collected the information using data from a random telephone survey involving 2,201 [More]

March 11th, 2019

Physician burnout not as prevalent for psychologists?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In January, several healthcare organizations in Massachusetts took the unusual step of declaring a public health crisis over the rising rates of “burnout” among physicians. In a paper published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the group outlines both the concerns and proposed directives for addressing the problem. According to the paper, nearly half of physicians in one survey experienced symptoms of burnout including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of professional accomplishment. The paper also pointed to research that burnout may [More]

March 11th, 2019

Legislation provides mental health support for first responders

By New England Psychologist Staff

First responders to emergencies have a heavy burden to bear and often do not ask for emotional support. Massachusetts recently passed a law specifically to help this population. Senator Michael Moore (D-Second Worcester District) was instrumental in passing legislation for mental health services for first responders. It highlights the mental trauma related to specific events on the job. The bill went into effect on January 16 and applies to firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers. “When you respond to a fire or a baby dies and you’re trying to save them,” he explained. “I don’t know how you wouldn’t take [More]

March 10th, 2019

RI summit addresses student mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

In January, government and local college and university leaders met to discuss the prevalence of stress and anxiety on college campuses. Governor Gina Raimondo called for the summit to help identify opportunities and strategies for collaboration among the counseling centers on Rhode Island’s college campuses, according to Nicole Shaffer-Thomas, director of communications and outreach, RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner. The summit produced a number of good ideas, said Vanessa M. Britto, MD, MSc, FACP, executive director of health and wellness at Brown University. Britto, also assistant vice president for campus life and student services said Rhode Island’s size and [More]

March 10th, 2019

Introduction to Psychology

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Some things grab hold of us and never let go. Of all the things that might have had this effect on me, I would have never predicted that one of them would be my first psychology textbook, Introduction to Psychology by Clifford T. Morgan and Richard A. King. I kept the book for years, rarely looking inside and often not even knowing where in the house it was. It was enough to know that it was there somewhere, with me in companionable silence as I built my career and family life on other stories, written in other books, told by [More]