Columnists, Articles

May 11th, 2021

Adventures in senior yoga

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

Ask any retired person and they will tell you that one of the best things about not reporting for work every day is the freedom to set your own schedule and finally get around to doing some of the things that you’ve always wanted to try.

For me, one of those things was yoga. You would think a clinical psychologist would have made yoga part of his daily routine long before retirement. After all, yoga is an empirically validated method of stress reduction and a proven road to strength, balance and flexibility.…

May 11th, 2021

Law enforcement & trauma: Psychological intervention addresses the impact

By Phyllis Hanlon

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), eight of every 100 individuals will experience post-traumatic stress at some time in their life; unlike civilians, police officers, on average, experience three traumatic events every six months. The frequency and intensity of these events may have a serious psychological impact on the officer at the moment and/or weeks, months or years in the future.

First responders always face the chance for direct or indirect trauma, chronic exposure to trauma, and concerns about expectations and the future, said Tanya Farber, Psy.D., outpatient psychotherapist in the LEADER (Law Enforcement, Active Duty, Emergency Responder) program at McLean Hospital.…

May 11th, 2021

Anti-Asian hate intensifies as pandemic lingers

By Eileen Weber

Three bystanders witnessed an Asian American woman being viciously attacked in front of a luxury condo in New York and did nothing to intervene.

An Asian man was brutally beaten unconscious on a New York subway while other riders watched.

Another Asian man out for his morning walk in San Francisco was slammed to the ground causing brain hemorrhaging from which he later died.

A mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta saw eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women.

Anti-Asian hate crimes are up in the U.S. and these few examples are just the tip of the iceberg.…

April 14th, 2021

Online continuing education gets mixed reviews

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Just over one year ago, the whole world shut down. People stopped going to work, to school, to restaurants and movie theatres. There are some Americans who have still not gone back to doctors, dentists, or therapy sessions, at least not in person.

For those in the working world who are lucky to still have jobs, things did not shut down so much as move online. A new verb, “to Zoom,” became common. Individuals slowly figured out where the mute button was and to remember to shut the door and to hide the dog’s squeaky toy before logging on.…

April 13th, 2021

Massachusetts launches schools’ initiative to address mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

Throughout the last year, schooling has looked significantly different than in any other year. The spread of COVID-19 prompted the state to temporarily suspend in-classroom learning. In some cases, schools opened and then shuttered their doors shortly after as cases of the virus increased.

Although some in-person learning has resumed, students have the option of remaining remote or attending school in a hybrid model.

This February in Massachusetts, a new initiative was launched to address the mental health issues that might arise for students during the current pandemic. School principals and administrators, teachers, guidance, and adjustment counselors will attend virtual training sessions.…

April 13th, 2021

COVID-19 is impacting pediatric mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

Research clearly demonstrates that the pandemic is having a significant negative effect on the younger generation.

A November 2020 article, “Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations,” found both short-term and long-term “psychosocial and mental health implications” in this population. The article was published in Psychiatry Research.

The authors noted that severity of the impact is subject to certain vulnerability factors including developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health conditions, low economic status, and quarantine because of or fear of infection.…

April 13th, 2021

Drug overdoses rise but NH’s death rate dips slightly

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than half a million deaths in the United States. Sadly, those direct results of the virus may not tell the whole story.

Across the United States, drug overdose deaths increased nearly 20 percent in the 12-month period ending last June, with a noticeable spike occurring during the early months of the Covid-19 shutdown.

These figures, provided by the Centers for Disease Control, represented the highest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in the U.S. in a single year.

Throughout New England, the rates of death have seen an increase in the past year in every state except for one.…

April 13th, 2021

Providers object to bill removing audio-only option

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In July of 2020, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill into law that required insurance companies to cover telemedicine at equal rates to in-person treatment.

The move was lauded by both health care and mental health care professionals as a positive step toward expanding services, especially in remote areas where access may be more limited.

This year, one of that bill’s original sponsors, Jess Edwards (R-Rockingham 4), joined forces with two other Republican representatives to sponsor a bill that will remove the parity and audio-only pieces of the 2020 law.…

April 13th, 2021

College students feel the mental health toll of pandemic

By Eileen Weber

In the past year, the pandemic has taken a significant mental and emotional toll. Mask wearing, social distancing, isolation, and quarantining are practically second nature. And, none of this is lost on college students who have had a very different school experience since last March.

Jacqueline Alvarez, Ph.D, associate dean and director of the counseling center at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass., acknowledged increased depression and anxiety in college students has been a top concern for the past several years and it’s no different this year. But as she put it, “it’s complicated.”…

April 13th, 2021

Parenting Education: How to help your children after trauma

By New England Psychologist Staff

Some basics for managing trauma in your child:

In some ways, helping children recover from traumatic experiences, can be simple. In other ways, the healing process can seem endless and grueling. In order to make this process doable, let’s discuss some basic concepts you can incorporate from the get go.

• Physical contact – Be affectionate with your child. This will help him/her feel safe.

• Daily Routines – Structure during times of stress is very healing. Structure provides a sense of security. When everything feels out of control, having structure provides an anchor for the child.…