Leading Stories, Articles

July 9th, 2021

Kids Count Factbook highlights how families had it tough during pandemic

By Eileen Weber

Rhode Island’s children and their families have had a rough year, according to the annual Rhode Island Kids Count Factbook released in May. Kids Count is a non-profit child advocacy group that examined 70 indicators in five areas that affect the lives of children. They are broken down into family and community; economic well-being; health; safety; and education.

The collected data showed three main takeaways: the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on Rhode Island’s communities; the concentration of child poverty in four core cities: Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence, and Woonsocket; and the continued racial and ethnic disparities within the state.…

April 19th, 2020

Programs seek to address ME youth suicide

By Eileen Weber

Maine SuicideThe suicide rate in Maine has become a major issue. It has one of the highest rates in the nation and it is the second leading cause of death among kids and people between the ages of 10 and 35.

According to the 2019 Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, there has been a significant increase in students with mental health issues. In Sagadahoc County alone, nearly 36 percent of students reported negative feelings and more than 19 percent considered suicide.

Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.…

August 29th, 2019

Study: Physical limits hurt mental health

By Susan Gonsalves

Children and young adults with physical conditions like diabetes, ADHD, and asthma are more likely to develop mental health problems according to a U.S. study.

The study, led by John Adams, MD, of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts, followed 48,572 young people ages 6 to 25 over a two-year-period.

The individuals followed did not have mental health issues at the start of the research, but 14.7 percent were coping with physical problems that required treatment or limited their daily life activities.

During the course of the study, overall, 7.8 percent of the participants developed a mental health problem.

July 5th, 2019

Rhode Island Foundation awards grants to non-profit organizations focused on behavioral health

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Rhode Island FoundationIn May, the Rhode Island Foundation awarded $2.6 million in grants to six non-profit organizations to fund behavioral health care services in the state.

According to Jenny Pereira, vice president of the grant program at the R.I. Foundation, behavioral health is a high priority. In August 2018, the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner created the Behavioral Health Fund with funding from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. The latter has committed to providing $5 million in funding.

Overall, their focus is on preventing behavioral health problems before they arise, and identifying conditions or concerns in their earliest stages, Pereira said.

May 13th, 2019

The shame of United Behavioral Healthcare

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

United Behavioral HealthI’m surprised United Behavioral Healthcare (UBH) – a part of behemoth UnitedHealthcare — can even show its face these days. After a scathing ruling against this disliked healthcare insurer was handed down in early March, it’s become clear – to me at least — that UBH only cared for its bottom line, not the highest quality patient care possible.

It also once again illustrated the separate and unequal systems that exist in parallel – one that treats physical symptoms, and an inferior system setup to provide the most minimal of coverage to treat mental symptoms.…

March 10th, 2019

RI summit addresses student mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

RI college campus mental health servicesIn 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 the proximity of the colleges and universities facilitates coalition building, which is key in addressing mental health needs on campus.…

February 8th, 2018

Rural Massachusetts experiences psychiatric bed increase

By Phyllis Hanlon

Rural Massachusetts experiences psychiatric bed increaseAcross the Commonwealth, particularly in rural areas, the need for more inpatient care for patients with mental health issues continues to grow. In recent months, small towns in the central part of the state have seen an uptick in the number of psychiatric inpatient beds and services.

In October 2015, Heywood Healthcare in Gardner purchased a former teaching convent in Petersham that had housed the Sisters of Assumption. Rebecca Bialicki, Ph.D, vice president for Community Health and Chief Change Agent at Heywood Healthcare, noted that the property encompasses 21 acres and a 75,000 square foot building with two wings.…