Leading Stories, Articles

July 1st, 2017

Study: Facebook makes you feel bad

By Janine Weisman

Nearly 1.3 billion daily active Facebook users around the world spend an average of 50 minutes each day using the social media network or one of its apps, according to the company. But they might be using Facebook at the risk of their own health and happiness. A recent study documented a negative association between Facebook use and overall well-being in contrast to the positive impact of in-person interactions. A pair of authors found that liking the content of others and clicking links significantly predicted later self-reports of diminished physical and mental health and life satisfaction. “If I go out [More]

July 1st, 2017

Teen’s viral Facebook post could be useful to therapists

By Janine Weisman

“I brushed my hair today” begins a Facebook post that appears at first glance to be the sharing of ordinary and otherwise unremarkable information. Except that the young author reveals it’s the first time in four weeks she attended to her own personal care and hygiene. The author is Katelyn Marie Lesho and her May 9 post about her struggle with depression has done something rather unordinary. Lesho’s 275-word post had generated nearly 300,000 shares, 233,000 like, love and sad emojis and 22,000 comments a month after she wrote it. The Georgia teenager described her hair as “matted and twisted [More]

July 1st, 2017

Depression decreases after intervention

By Susan Gonsalves

A five-year study, recently published in JAMA Psychiatry, showed that a brief depression intervention could reduce symptoms among mothers by 40 percent. Women with lower depressive symptom levels at the start had even more of a decrease at 61 percent. Boston Medical Center and collaborator Action for Boston Community Development’s Head Start screened more than 2,200 mothers at Boston-area Head Start locations. A randomized control trial of 230 women compared outcomes for mothers receiving conventional Head Start services and women who got those services and also took part in a six-session program called Problem Solving Education (PSE). Both groups were [More]

July 1st, 2017

Area of brain impacts anxiety about the future, study says

By Rivkela Brodsky

A  group of researchers at Dartmouth College have found a connection between an area of the brain, the striatum, and a person’s intolerance of uncertainty – anxiety or worry about the unknown. “We were interested in how uncertainty and ambiguity of potential future threat contribute to the generation of anxiety and how that might be represented in our brain,” said Justin Jim, Ph.D., lead author of the study, “Intolerance of Uncertainty Predicts Increased Stratial Volume,” which was published in the APA journal Emotion in May. “For some individuals, the uncertainty of what ‘might happen’ tomorrow, is actually worse than the [More]

July 1st, 2017

Psychologist’s work centers on children, parenting

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Parenting is tough. But, is it tougher than it used to be? Is there better information out there for parents… or just more information that can become overwhelming? Robert Pressman, Ph.D., ABPP, director of research for the New England Center of Pediatric Psychology, has worked with families and children for several decades. He has seen changes in the way children are raised and in the communities surrounding them. Over the years, he has developed unique clinical methods to better reach clients, done extensive research into parenting styles and identified a non-neurologically-based condition he calls “Faux ADHD” that shows a type [More]

June 1st, 2017

Psychologist shortage: factors affect access to care

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Kaiser Family Foundation issued a report in January citing a significant shortage of mental health care practitioners nationwide. In New England, the “percent of need met” ranged from 34.26 percent in Connecticut to 61.17 percent in Rhode Island. According to regional psychologists, a variety of reasons, from an aging profession and inadequate training/education programs to low reimbursement rates and health plan disparities, may account for the shortage of licensed mental health providers. For states like Maine, geography and the number of licensed professionals pose a challenge, according to Carly Rodgers, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow and public education chair of the [More]

June 1st, 2017

Push for prescribing privileges fizzles in Vermont

By Janine Weisman

With the stroke of Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter’s (R) pen on April 4, Idaho became the fifth U.S. state to permit clinical psychologists with advanced specialized training to prescribe medications to treat mental health disorders. So, expect to see continuing momentum for what the American Psychological Association maintains will improve access to mental health services, particularly in poorly-served areas. Just not this year in Vermont. A bill introduced in February in Vermont’s House of Representatives seeking to grant prescribing privileges for psychologist-doctorates with advanced training in psychopharmacology went nowhere after being referred to the Committee on Health Care. The [More]

June 1st, 2017

Vacant building in Westborough to become behavioral hospital

By Phyllis Hanlon

Later this year, Westborough will become the site of a new behavioral health care hospital. In April, selectmen in the town gave approval for the construction of a facility that will better serve the mental health care needs in Central Massachusetts. Francisco Torres, Westborough’s economic development coordinator, reported that Signature Healthcare, which is based in Corona, California, approached the town approximately a year ago with a proposal to renovate a long-vacant building at 300 Friberg Parkway. The property, which formerly housed Verizon and Bay State Gas prior to that, was originally intended to serve as a campus for the College [More]

June 1st, 2017

Lawsuits address segregation of mentally ill prisoners

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Concern over the use of solitary confinement for inmates who suffer from mental illness has propelled a spate of lawsuits over the past few years in the state of Vermont. In one case, settled last August, a prisoner known as Patient A was held in segregation for nearly seven months. The settlement included reforms to the system including the requirement to seek a hospital bed when needed, twice-daily mental health checks in prison and weekly psychiatric evaluation. The most recent case, which has also been filed by Disability Rights Vermont, accuses the state of holding a 34-year-old man, known as [More]

June 1st, 2017

Bill seeks to address gap in services for veterans

By Pamela Berard

Legislation introduced in Maine aims to help the state bridge a gap for mental health services for military veterans. “An Act Regarding Mental Health Care for Maine Veterans,” currently in the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, directs the Director of the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services within the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management to station at each of the bureau’s field offices a social worker to provide direct mental health care to veterans, to coordinate mental health care for veterans and to work with the federal government and state and local mental health service providers to provide mental [More]

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