Leading Stories, Articles

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]

March 10th, 2019

Numerous deficiencies reported at CT juvenile centers

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate (OCA) published a report citing several areas needing significant improvement after examining conditions at juvenile centers in Bridgeport and Hartford. The centers are operated by the Court Support Services Division (CSSD). The report also included data collected from the Manson Youth Institution for Boys and York Correctional Institute for Girls, which fall under the purview of the Department of Corrections (DOC). The investigation reviewed data from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 and was released in January 2019. Mickey Kramer, MS, RN, associate child advocate, explained that the Connecticut legislature mandated the [More]

March 9th, 2019

Vermont’s new mental health commissioner Sarah Squirrell ready to face challenges

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Like many states, Vermont is in dire need of mental health reform. Sarah Squirrell, Vermont’s newest mental health commissioner, said there are no easy answers to the complex challenges. However, Squirrell welcomes the opportunity to address these issues, which, she said, require collaboration, innovation, and commitment. “Our communities and service delivery systems must commit to work together to advance solutions to improve the care of individuals with mental health needs, and to always keep the needs of those we serve and their families at the center of our work,” Squirrell said. “Sometimes we think our best way to serve the [More]

March 9th, 2019

It’s time for portability in psychologist licensing

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

There may have been a time in the not-too-distant past when the guild mentality that infects clinical psychology as a profession served a purpose. Not only did it emphasize psychologist’s greater training and educational requirements, but it helped to differentiate the profession from others that provided similar services (such as psychotherapy). But the guild mentality comes with heavy licensing requirements and continuing education quotas that don’t seem to make as much sense as they once did. The heavy burden of our profession’s licensing requirements has a real-world impact in psychologist’s lives and professional career trajectories. Want to move your family [More]

March 8th, 2019

Letter to the Editor: MPA responds to editorial on compensation

By New England Psychologist Staff

To the Editor, We appreciate your raising the issue of compensation to Massachusetts psychologists and its direct impact on behavioral health and substance use services in your recent editorial (December, 2018). Restricted access to mental health treatment for Massachusetts residents has been central to the advocacy efforts of the Massachusetts Psychological Association (MPA) for many years. The stagnant third-party payor reimbursement to psychologists is a key contributor to this problem and in direct opposition to the surge of unmet behavioral health treatment needs. This concern was highlighted by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Examination of Health Care Cost Trends and [More]

March 8th, 2019

Closing a practice requires thoughtful planning

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Shuttering a psychological practice is not a step to be taken lightly. It’s not like one can simply hang a “Closed” sign on the door and turn off the lights. In reality, there are many issues to be taken into consideration, including the ethical, legal, financial, and practical aspects of ending relationships with patients, colleagues, insurance companies, and even with landlords and other vendors. Then there is the question of what comes next, both personally and for your business. Should it be closed or sold? How do you help patients finish their therapy or move on to another therapist? Can [More]