Leading Stories, Articles

November 1st, 2017

Grant to fund integrated care delivery system in Vermont

By Pamela Berard

The Vermont Department of Mental Health was recently awarded a five-year, $9.9 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to establish the Vermont Family Centered Healthcare Home Project (VFCHP). VFCHP is an integrated care delivery system – including mental, emotional and physical health – for children who have been diagnosed with, or are at risk of, severe emotional disturbance. It also is designed for youth and young adults receiving mental health services who are transitioning to adult services and their families. In its grant application, organizers noted that Vermont is the second most rural state [More]

November 1st, 2017

Prediction shows drop in opioid fatalities

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for the New Hampshire opioid crisis. At the very least there is some positive news coming from the state’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner which released statistics for the number of drug overdose deaths in 2016 along with a prediction for 2017. According to the data, 2016 did see an increase in drug-related deaths over 2015 but the overall rate of the increase dropped as compared to previous years. Four hundred and thirty-nine people died in 2015 and 485 in 2016. Over the past two decades, the [More]

November 1st, 2017

Walden tackles LGBTQ eating disorders

By Eileen Weber

The statistics for eating disorders in the LGBTQ community are unsettling. According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42 percent of men with this issue identify as gay or bisexual. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) states that gay, lesbian, and bisexual people report binge-eating and purging as young as 12-years-old. Many seeking treatment for an eating disorder also have a co-occurring disorder – anything from anxiety and depression to obsessive compulsive disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder. Statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse also show that up to 35 percent of people who abuse alcohol [More]

November 1st, 2017

Program to focus on social justice, human rights

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After spending nearly a decade fighting for a change in how psychologists work with the Department of Defense around torture techniques, Stephen Soldz, Ph.D., a professor at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis (BGSP), decided to put everything he learned to use in teaching others how to work for social justice. Between 2006 and 2015, Soldz, also a 2016-17 fellow-in-residence at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, led a successful campaign to uncover how psychologists were involved in DoD human rights abuses and to change American Psychological Association policy around the ethics of using psychological techniques [More]

October 1st, 2017

Behavioral disorders: accurate diagnosis proves challenging

By Phyllis Hanlon

Children placed in residential care present with a variety of behavioral disorders, sometimes with more than one. Determining a specific diagnosis can be daunting for the clinician. Ashley Warhol, Psy.D is director of clinical services and internship training at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health – MA & RI. She said that the two most common diagnoses she has seen at Devereux are attention deficit hyperactive disorder and oppositional defiant disorder, although others do exist. “We are starting to see an increase in disruptive mood dysregulation disorder – or DMDD,” said Warhol. “Some DMDD is seen as the youth version of bipolar [More]

October 1st, 2017

Debate heats up over Trump’s mental health

By Janine Weisman

If he had to do it all over again, John Gartner, Ph.D., would have asked mental health professionals to state their degree when he launched an online petition drive last February collecting their signatures to request that President Donald Trump be removed from office. So, there’s really no way to tell how many of the more than 62,000 signatures his change.org petition had received by September were from psychologists, psychiatrists and other mental health experts. “We didn’t even ask people to state their degree for the first 10,000 signatures,” said Gartner, a Baltimore psychologist and founder of Duty to Warn, [More]

October 1st, 2017

Program integrates physical, mental health

By Pamela Berard

Patients with serious mental illness who participated in a Behavioral Health Home (BHH) program saw reductions in emergency department (ED) visits and psychiatric hospitalizations, along with more preventive screenings for diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers at Cambridge Health Alliance and published by Psychiatric Services. The Cambridge Health Alliance – an academic community health system in Massachusetts – implemented its BHH in 2015 in a safety-net hospital for use by adults with schizophrenia spectrum disorder or bipolar disorder. The one-year study period compared similar patients – some enrolled in the BHH, some not. In that time, total ED [More]

October 1st, 2017

Report seeks to increase information sharing

By Janine Weisman

i-FamilyNet, the case management system that Massachusetts Department of Children and Families partner providers use, has information in narrative form. But the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) uses a system that relies more on data elements and fields for users to search and collect data. Different systems in the same state pose a challenge for sharing information about safety and risk factors at residential schools. That’s according to an 82-page report released last spring by the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate. The report by the Interagency Working Group on Residential Schools calls for better coordination of [More]

October 1st, 2017

Adolescent suicide rates on the rise

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Suicide rates among adolescents have shown a steady increase over the past decade, according to a report put out by the Centers for Disease Control. The rates among girls ages 15-19 rose more substantially than those of boys, more than doubling between 2007 and 2015. Rates for teen boys increased during the same period by 30 percent. The CDC released an updated breakdown of suicide rates in early August showing the trend for suicide among all teens over the past 40 years. The male rate tends to be far higher than for females. In 1975, for instance, the CDC reported [More]

October 1st, 2017

Study: Smartphone use linked to mental health distress

By Susan Gonsalves

College students with high smartphone use report higher levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness, poorer sleep quality and difficulties fulfilling their obligations as a student, according to a study at Assumption College, a small liberal arts school located in Worcester, Mass. Lead authors Adam Volungis, Ph.D. and Maria Kalpidou, Ph.D., emphasized that while the research shows a correlation between phone use and indicators of general symptoms of distress, no causal link was concluded. One hundred and fifty college students, 83 percent of whom were female, filled out a series of questionnaires using a range of assessment tools such as the [More]