Leading Stories, Articles

February 9th, 2021

Connecticut’s emergency shelters take financial hit in pandemic as abuse rises

By Eileen Weber

Across the country, reports of domestic abuse have been on the rise during the pandemic. In December 2020, the New England Journal of Medicine cited this increase, calling it a “pandemic within a pandemic.” Although calls for help dropped as much as 50 percent in some regions, that didn’t mean the violence stopped. It just wasn’t being reported. Isolated at home, many victims were trapped inside with their abusers.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline issued a snapshot in the spring. In March 2020, volume had decreased by six percent in comparison to the same time the previous year.…

October 6th, 2020

Program for educators teaches social and emotional learning

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The state of Connecticut is looking to take the lead on creating an emotionally strong educational system. The Department of Education has joined forces with stakeholders across the state to pilot a unique program aimed at giving educators the tools they need to cope and to teach coping skills during the pandemic.

The program, “Social and Emotional Learning in Times of Uncertainty and Stress: Research-Based Strategies,” is a 10-hour online program for educators that will give instruction in social and emotional learning (SEL).

“The course is 10 hours of training in the psychology and neurobiology of trauma and stress resilience,” said Marc Bracket, Ph.D,…

April 19th, 2020

Litigation continues in CT couple’s discrimination lawsuit concerning parental rights removal

By Janine Weisman

lawsuit concerning parental rights removalThe American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut will appeal a federal judge’s ruling against a couple who say they were discriminated against because of their mental disabilities when the state’s child welfare agency removed their two infant sons.

Joseph Watley and Karin Hasemann are challenging a decision last December by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny dismissing their claims that they were never given the opportunity to show they could be fit parents.

Their two sons were taken away at birth in 2005 and 2006 and are now teenagers being raised by adoptive parents.…

November 4th, 2019

Maine and Conn. make top 10 list for best mental health care

By Janine Weisman

top 10 listStates with a high rate of access to mental health care tend to have low prevalence of mental illness, according to a new report ranking which states had the best overall mental health care in the country.

QuoteWizard, a LendingTree company, analyzed data from Mental Health America to rank each state one to 50 as determined by a composite score of prevalence and access rankings.

North Dakota ranked first while Maryland came in second and New Jersey was third. Each scored high for access to care and low for prevalence of mental illness.…

October 9th, 2019

Connecticut organization runs work-based learning program for teens

By Eileen Weber

Connecticut-Junior-RepublicThis summer, Waterbury high school students got a chance at real-life skill building and resume development thanks to grants from the American Savings Foundation, the Frederick W. Marzahl Memorial Fund and other in-kind contributions given to the Connecticut Junior Republic (CJR).

The organization’s combined programs annually serve approximately 1,500 boys and girls. In their summer program, at-risk and disadvantaged teens developed work experience that could help them land a future dream job.

Just ask Victor Marcial. A recent University of Hartford graduate, he pursued a degree in visual communications all because of the CJR program.…

August 27th, 2019

Involuntary shock therapy court-ordered for Connecticut man

By Eileen Weber

This past spring, a probate court ordered a 26-year-old man in Connecticut to undergo electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and involuntary medication at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The man, identified only as John Doe, secured the Connecticut Legal Rights Project (CLRP) for his defense in the appeal. The hospital’s attorneys argued for a dismissal, citing the patient has a conservator who must agree.

The defense rebutted that state law allows conserved individuals to challenge such cases on their own even if their conservator disagrees.

Gina Teixeira, JD, Doe’s attorney at CLRP, contended state law requires less intrusive treatment before implementing the procedure.…

May 28th, 2019

CT bill supporting prescriptive authority fails; to be re-submitted

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

David Greenfield’s office manager called 19 psychiatrists before she found one to return her call. This situation is not uncommon, according to Greenfield, Ph.D, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and founder and medical director for The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in West Hartford.

“We see this every day,” said Greenfield, whose practice receives daily calls from individuals looking for a prescriber.

Connecticut, like many states, has a shortage of psychiatric medication prescribers. That shortfall means that people often have to wait weeks or even months for an appointment, Greenfield said.…

May 13th, 2019

Hebrew Senior Care’s expansion hopes to address psychiatric needs of elderly

By Eileen Weber

Hebrew Senior CarePeople are living longer and as a result, rates of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related issues continue to increase, impacting not only families, but the greater medical community.

According to AARP, 10,000 Baby Boomers are reaching retirement every day and the U.S. Census Bureau’s assessments bear those figures out. They predict that by 2030, “one in five residents will be retirement age.”

The World Health Organization states globally 15 percent of adults over 60 suffer from a mental disorder with dementia and depression topping the list. The Centers for Disease Control published a study last year that projected the rate of Alzheimer’s and other dementias to increase 3.3%—or 417 million people—by 2060.…

March 10th, 2019

Numerous deficiencies reported at CT juvenile centers

By Phyllis Hanlon

Numerous deficiencies reported at CT juvenile centers 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 agency to produce the report, which focused on a broad review of conditions of confinement.…

January 3rd, 2019

Connecticut ranks high on study of psychopathy by location

By Susan Gonsalves

psychopaths connecticutWashington D.C. has the highest number of psychopaths, according to a nation-wide study. But Connecticut ranked second overall and first per capita.

The research, conducted by Ryan Murphy, Ph.D., research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University, also showed the states with the most psychopaths were clustered in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Murphy said that he expanded on research that argued in favor of mapping psychopathy to the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience).

His study “Psychopathy by U.S. State” used a sample of 1.6 million people across the country and calculated how frequently they exhibited the personality traits.…