Leading Stories

May 28th, 2019

R.I. bill to mandate suicide prevention training for school staff faces quiet hurdles

By Janine Weisman

On the first day of spring, they came to the Rhode Island Statehouse. Many were students from Portsmouth High School who formed the suicide prevention group Every Student Initiative. They were there to support a bill before the House Committee of Health, Education and Welfare. The bill was called The Nathan Bruno and Jason Flatt Act. Bruno, 15, a Portsmouth High School sophomore, died on Feb. 7, 2018. Flatt died on July 16, 1997, at age 16 in Nashville, Tennessee. The proposed legislation that bears their names would establish mandatory youth suicide awareness and prevention training for all public school [More]

May 28th, 2019

CT bill supporting prescriptive authority fails; to be re-submitted

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

David Greenfield’s office manager called 19 psychiatrists before she found one to return her call. This situation is not uncommon, according to Greenfield, Ph.D, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and founder and medical director for The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in West Hartford. “We see this every day,” said Greenfield, whose practice receives daily calls from individuals looking for a prescriber. Connecticut, like many states, has a shortage of psychiatric medication prescribers. That shortfall means that people often have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment, Greenfield [More]

May 28th, 2019

New Hampshire organization uses peer approach to provide kinship, hope

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

One of the worst parts about struggling with mental illness is the loneliness. You feel like you’re the only person on the planet to suffer with these symptoms or stressors. You feel like you’re abnormal, inherently wrong, or “other.” So, when someone truly listens to you, cares, and says “me, too,” it can be transformative. People who have felt alone their entire lives can find connection and purpose, said Peter Starkey, executive director of the Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency (MPS) in Keene, New Hampshire. MPS is one of 10 agencies of this type across the state. Staff was involved [More]

May 28th, 2019

Millenials have more health issues, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield Survey

By Susan Gonsalves

A survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield Association shows that millennial Americans are experiencing double-digit increases in eight of 10 health conditions, including behavioral health issues like major depression, substance and alcohol abuse, and hyperactivity. Brian Harvey, executive director, strategy at BCBSA explained that the organization creates an annual index, analyzing more than 200 conditions that comprise 99 percent of the claims. The report focuses on 55 million commercially insured millennials ages 21-36 from 2014-2017. A section of the report compares how older millennials fare compare to Generation X counterparts at the same age. Harvey said that many of the [More]

May 13th, 2019

Hebrew Senior Care’s expansion hopes to address psychiatric needs of elderly

By Eileen Weber

People are living longer and as a result, rates of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related issues continue to increase, impacting not only families, but the greater medical community. According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement every day and the U.S. Census Bureau’s assessments bear those figures out. They predict that by 2030, “one in five residents will be retirement age.” The World Health Organization states globally 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from a mental disorder with dementia and depression topping the list. The Centers for Disease Control published a study last year that projected the rate of [More]

May 13th, 2019

North Shore Medical Center project underway to increase number of psychiatric beds

By Eileen Weber

North Shore Medical Center received approval from Massachusetts state regulators to increase its number of psychiatric beds. Plans for what will be called the Epstein Center for Behavioral Health include a total of 120 adult, geriatric, and pediatric beds. The facility is slated to open this fall. The expansion project had a few glitches after the hospital and its parent company, Partners Healthcare, scaled back the plans in 2016 because of financial losses. Now back on track, the expansion is an attempt to tackle what is a nationwide issue—having enough psychiatric care available so that patients don’t end up in [More]

May 13th, 2019

Psychologists find inpatient autism treatment complex, challenging

By Phyllis Hanlon

Growing awareness, mandatory early screening and changes to the diagnostic criteria have collectively contributed to an increase in the number of autism diagnoses. For the most part, patients with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum are managed on an outpatient basis. But, in some cases, hospitalization is necessary. Barbara Tylenda, Ph.D, ABPP, chief psychologist to Bradley Hospital’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD), said that individuals with autism who need hospitalization are “…just like their neurotypical counterparts…” but can no longer be home or in school because of aggressive, self-injurious, or some other maladjusted behavior. Tylenda is also a [More]

May 13th, 2019

The shame of United Behavioral Healthcare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

I’m surprised United Behavioral Healthcare (UBH) – a part of behemoth UnitedHealthcare — can even show its face these days. After a scathing ruling against this disliked healthcare insurer was handed down in early March, it’s become clear – to me at least — that UBH only cared for its bottom line, not the highest quality patient care possible. It also once again illustrated the separate and unequal systems that exist in parallel – one that treats physical symptoms, and an inferior system setup to provide the most minimal of coverage to treat mental symptoms. In the case, Wit v. [More]

May 12th, 2019

Butler Hospital research seeks to identify people in pre-clinical stage of Alzheimer’s

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Currently, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2050, that total is expected to increase to nearly 14 million. Between 2000 and 2017, deaths from heart disease decreased by nine percent; deaths from Alzheimer’s increased by 145 percent.Butler Hospital in Rhode Island is among the institutions working to shrink those statistics. Butler has been researching dementia for 25 years. In the last several years, research at Butler Hospital Memory & Aging Program (MAP) has shifted to identifying people in the pre-clinical stage of dementia, even individuals who are at risk but haven’t developed symptoms yet, said Athene Lee, [More]