Leading Stories, Articles

October 3rd, 2018

Residential schools: Helping students get back on track

By Phyllis Hanlon

Residential, or boarding, schools serve different populations and have different goals. Schools that address behavioral issues in children admit students with a variety of diagnoses. Those diagnoses include a number of psychological and emotional issues that range from anxiety, mood and eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) to fire setting, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other behavioral problems. In recent years, more children have presented with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. According to Valentina M. Parchin, Ph.D, director of education for the Adelbrook Learning Center in East Hartford, Connecticut, this agency has moved [More]

October 2nd, 2018

Behavior analysts must be licensed in Connecticut

By Janine Weisman

On July 1, Connecticut became the 30th state in the country to require behavior analysts to obtain a license to practice what has become the best-known approach to treating children with autism. Behavior analysts help individuals change behaviors associated with negative consequences to improve outcomes. Being licensed will allow behavior analysts to be reimbursed by insurers. And, it ensures that families, public school districts, the state Department of Developmental Services (DDS), private insurance, and Medicaid providers have a means of regulating the practices of behavior analysts. Behavior analysts have earned a graduate degree in behavior analysis, education, psychology or a [More]

October 1st, 2018

Youth Villages closes residential program for girls in Mass.

By Janine Weisman

A residential treatment program for girls with emotional and behavioral problems in Arlington, Massachusetts, shut down in September after a decision by its parent organization to shift focus to community-based services. That decision impacted 150 staff members at the Germaine Lawrence campus on Claremont Avenue operated by the national private non-profit Youth Villages. The vast majority of positions are direct care staff, including several master’s level and licensed positions, nursing and maintenance staff. The program is licensed to serve a maximum of 72 girls between the ages of 12 and 22. But there were only 48 girls on site when [More]

September 14th, 2018

Isolation and LGBTQ youth: Social, psychological and financial implications

By Phyllis Hanlon

This project was supported by a grant from the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA). In a 2017 Washington Post article, former Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy cited emotional well-being and loneliness as one of today’s big public health worries. While the average American might experience isolation and disconnectedness at various times during their lives because of intense career involvement, age discrimination, geographic remoteness or for other reasons, many youth who identify as LGBTQ endure isolation, broken relationships and disconnections on an ongoing basis, sometimes with devastating results. According to David Oberleitner, Ph.D, chair, department of psychology, University of [More]

August 31st, 2018

Conversion therapy ban passes in New Hampshire, fails in Massachusetts and is vetoed in Maine

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a movement that seems to be growing, a ban on mental health professionals providing conversion therapy for people under 18 has been signed into law in 15 states. There have been five bans this year alone. In June, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed a bill banning the practice in that state. “There has been a real cultural shift,” said Shannon Bader, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., the legislative chair for the New Hampshire Psychological Association. “We were the 14th state with an outright ban.” Historically, conversion therapy has included everything from instruction on why and how to change to shaming the [More]

August 30th, 2018

Border separation takes emotional toll on children

By Eileen Weber

Reports of family separation at the Mexican border set off a firestorm. Video and audio demonstrated the conditions in which the more than 3,000 children lived. An estimated 1,600 parents are still in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With reunification underway, the Trump administration recently admitted that more than 450 immigrant parents separated from their children may have been deported. “I find Trump’s policy of separating children from parents shocking, appalling, and extremely cruel,” said Richard McNally, Ph.D, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University. McNally has focused much of his [More]

August 29th, 2018

Goldwater Rule is re-visited

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1964, presidential candidate Barry Goldwater issued some alarming “extremist” statements, drawing criticism from the general public and some mental health professionals. The uproar prompted FACT magazine to survey 12,356 psychiatrists regarding Goldwater’s mental health status. While none of the respondents had personally spoken with or examined Goldwater, they provided negative opinions on his psychological health, deeming him unfit to serve as president of the United States. In the wake of serious backlash following the release of the survey results, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) passed the “Goldwater Rule,” which made it unethical for a psychiatrist to issue a statement [More]

August 29th, 2018

Treatment resistance is challenge for practitioners

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Patient X doesn’t show up for an appointment–again. He calls and explains that his dog was sick/mother needed a ride/ car broke down. Client J is late for nearly every appointment. Patient K offers every excuse she can think of for why a particular solution will not work for her–no matter the solution. Patient N, a teenager, is openly critical of you, your clothes, your hair, and your skills as a therapist. No one said that life as a therapist would be easy. No matter the population–younger, older, more or less seriously ill, there are at least one or two [More]

August 29th, 2018

CDC report shows challenge facing public health campaign goals to prevent suicide

By Janine Weisman

The World Health Organization wants to reduce the suicide rate by 10 percent by 2020. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Project 2025 wants to reduce it 20 percent by 2025. The Zero Suicide movement aims to prevent 100 percent of suicides in the first 30 days after a patient is discharged from inpatient or day treatment. Are these goals realistic when new federal data show the reverse has actually been happening? Twenty-five states saw their suicide rates rise by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2016, including four of the six New England states. That’s according to a [More]

August 28th, 2018

RI police group concerned about mental health training

By Eileen Weber

The Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association backed late-session legislation in June that attempted to overturn a 2016 law requiring mental health training for police officers. Complying with the National Council of Behavioral Health’s flagship program, Mental Health First Aid USA, it teaches the skills to recognize mental illness, helps assess the risks, and connect individuals with the necessary care. “Mental health training is targeted in how to respond and deescalate the situation,” said Beth Lamarre, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Rhode Island. With nearly two million mentally ill individuals booked into jails every year, the [More]