General, Articles

March 5th, 2020

Study shows social media isn’t all negative — or positive

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Is social media helpful or harmful to our mental health? So far, the research has been “contradictory and inconclusive,” according to Mesfin A. Bekalu, Ph.D, a research scientist in the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Bekalu noted that this was his inspiration to conduct a study examining the effects of social media. The study, published in the journal Health Education & Behavior, found a more nuanced response: how individuals used social media had a significant impact on their mental health and social well-being. “In essence, we found that [it] is not [More]

March 4th, 2020

Wild Acre & Mental Health Solutions uses home-based health care for mentally ill

By Eileen Weber

About five years ago, New England Psychologist reported the Wild Acre Inn in Belmont, Mass., was changing hands. The residential treatment program, with several sites located within the Boston area, shuttered all but one by the fall of 2014. Bernard Yudowitz, MD, who ran the program since its founding in 1972, could not continue the program because of health issues. He called on John Sciretta, LICSW, for help. Sciretta was Wild Acre’s chief clinical officer from 1983 to 1996. He moved on to build a private practice that included supported apartments and home-based management care in the area. “I already [More]

March 4th, 2020

When an Asian-American student coughs in class, cue fear and xenophobia

By Janine Weisman

Since late January when the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency over the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, members of Chinese communities in the U.S. and elsewhere have reported feeling more pressure and bias toward them. Social media posts have documented incidents of people of Asian descent being harassed in public spaces, signs banning Chinese people from businesses, and other mistreatment. Catherine Vuky, Psy.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology at William James College in Newton, Massachusetts, has seen a slight increase in referrals for children of Chinese descent who have been teased or bullied by peers [More]

February 5th, 2020

Struggle to find affordable, in-network mental health treatment is real

By Janine Weisman

Health insurers are failing to comply with mental health parity laws for Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage and their families, according to a recent report. As a result, there are increasing disparities in access to behavioral health services for employees and their dependents who end up having to seek care from out-of-network providers at higher out-of-pocket costs. The report “Addiction and Mental Health vs. Physical Health: Widening disparities in network use and provider reimbursement” outlines problems with access to affordable in-network care for mental illness and substance use disorders. The report by the independent actuarial and research institution consulting firm [More]

February 5th, 2020

Urban or rural? Psychologists weigh the pros & cons

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When looking to set up or join a new psychological practice, there are so many questions to address. Whether it’s an early career choice, a move to a new part of the country, or a therapist looking to make major changes, the first hurdle is deciding where to practice. What matters most to you in your surroundings from both a personal and professional point of view? From the two extreme opposites, urban versus rural settings, we draw our examples today. (Suburban-based psychologists will fall somewhere in between the two, with access to a larger amount of resources, a bit more [More]

February 5th, 2020

Are more psychologists serving only self-pay patients? Difficulties with insurance companies highlighted

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The complaints documented in a 2019 survey released by the Connecticut Psychological Association (CPA) illustrate the on-going difficulties that psychologists have with insurance companies. From understanding administrative requirements, to filing claims, following up on reimbursements, submitting further documentation, waiting on telephone hold, and accepting low reimbursement rates, the range of complaints covers just about every step of the process. It would be no wonder if, as recent news and opinion articles posit, fewer and fewer psychologists are agreeing to join insurance panels, leaving patients with nowhere to turn. While it is difficult to ascertain just how many psychologists currently accept [More]

February 4th, 2020

Opioid crisis escalates need for foster care

By Eileen Weber

It’s no secret that the opioid crisis has taken a toll in this country. But according to the CDC’s National Center for Health statistics, the New England states have been hit hardest. Fentanyl was the leading cause of overdose deaths in the country in 2017. In New England alone, there were 22.5 fentanyl overdoses per 100,000 people. And of the New England states, New Hampshire has one of the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths nation-wide. But those suffering from addiction aren’t the only ones impacted; so are their children. More than 400,000 kids in the United States are in [More]

February 4th, 2020

Survey: Mass shootings, healthcare among top stressors

By Susan Gonsalves

Healthcare, mass shootings and the 2020 election are among the top stressors for Americans according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. Between August 1 and Sept. 2, 2019, the poll asked 3,617 adults to rate their level of stress as well as identify a variety of potential sources. Concerns about healthcare significantly affect about seven in 10 adults. More than half (64 percent) acknowledge that healthcare is stressing them out as least “sometimes.” Individuals with private insurance (71 percent) are more likely than those with public insurance (53 percent) to cite it as a stressor. Additionally, 55 percent [More]

January 5th, 2020

Hearing raises issue of parity, insurance rates

By Catherine Robertson Souter

As required by state law, the New Hampshire Insurance Department (NHID) hosts a public hearing each year to talk about health care costs and trends. The 2019 hearing, held in October, focused on the number of residents covered by insurance and the state’s progress on mental health parity. Eireann Sibley NHID communications director noted that the hearings are for the public and regular attendees include insurance company representatives, providers, academics, health care advocates, and legislators. According to published reports culled from data submitted by health insurance companies, the uninsured rate in New Hampshire did not change drastically in 2018 from [More]

January 5th, 2020

Second coerced suicide case adds urgency to Conrad’s Law passage

By Phyllis Hanlon

Two recent cases of “coerced” suicide in Massachusetts prompted legislators to file a bill that would criminalize intimidating behavior and strong-arm tactics that cause another to commit suicide. In 2014, Michelle Carter encouraged her boyfriend Conrad Roy to take his own life. More recently, Inyoung You allegedly pressured Boston College student Alexander Urtula to kill himself. In July 2019, state representative Natalie M. Higgins, (D-Worcester’s 4th district) and Senator Barry R. Finegold (D-Second Essex and Middlesex) filed the bill, known as Conrad’s Law, as the judicial committee was wrapping up its session. “We want to make clear to the community [More]