Leading Stories, Articles

March 25th, 2019

Gen Z’s worries highlighted in annual stress survey

By Susan Gonsalves

Generation Z, individuals ages 15 to 21, feel stressed out about ripped-from-the- headlines topics like school and mass shootings, sexual assault, and immigration according to the annual Stress in America™ survey by the American Psychological Association. The Harris Poll was conducted last summer online among 3,458 adults and 300 15 to 17-year-olds in all 50 states. Although 75 percent of Gen Z members found mass shootings `significantly’ stressful and 72 percent felt that way about school shootings, those kids of voting age were least likely to vote at 54 percent. The overall average had seven in 10 adults expecting to [More]

March 11th, 2019

Survey: Access to mental health, substance use disorder care is a challenge for Massachusetts adults

By Susan Gonsalves

Data from the 2018 Massachusetts Health Reform Survey showed that 56.8 percent of adults ages 19 to 64 who sought help for mental health or substance abuse disorders experienced difficulties obtaining care. The problems included finding a provider who would see them at all or getting an appointment in a timely manner when it was needed. As a result, more than one-third of those adults went without help and 12.7 percent visited an emergency department to address those issues. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation and Urban Institute collected the information using data from a random telephone survey involving 2,201 [More]

March 11th, 2019

Physician burnout not as prevalent for psychologists?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In January, several healthcare organizations in Massachusetts took the unusual step of declaring a public health crisis over the rising rates of “burnout” among physicians. In a paper published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Massachusetts Medical Society, and Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, the group outlines both the concerns and proposed directives for addressing the problem. According to the paper, nearly half of physicians in one survey experienced symptoms of burnout including emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced feelings of professional accomplishment. The paper also pointed to research that burnout may [More]

January 5th, 2019

Where is the leadership in Mass. compensation debate?

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Psychologists in Massachusetts are letting down their fellow citizens, as more and more clinical psychologists refuse to accept traditional health insurance for payment. In an in-depth article in the Oct. 21, 2018 issue of the Boston Globe, Liz Kowalczyk details the challenges citizens in Massachusetts face in getting psychological care through their insurance provider or through the government’s Medicaid program. The typical finger-pointing ensues in the article, with insurance companies and Medicaid claiming they are paying market rates ($72 for a 45-minute session) while trying to cut back on burdensome paperwork costs. Psychologists and other therapists claim it’s still not [More]

October 6th, 2018

To overcome the mental health bias, clinicians must serve as examples

By New England Psychologist Staff

In the middle of labor with my second child, I had a panic attack. It happened when my epidural kicked in and I realized I couldn’t feel my body. I panicked. After spending hours in excruciating pain of back labor and feeling the sweet sensation of the pain subsiding, I realized I couldn’t move. I felt the wave of panic washing over me as the nurse repeatedly asked me to move my legs and I could not. “I can’t feel my body” I said, “I’m going to have a panic attack!” “Ma’am, I see in your chart that you have [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

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]

July 5th, 2018

School Based Health Care may be the only care some kids receive

By Eileen Weber

The turn of the 20th century saw the advent of school nurses. Since then, school-based health care has grown. Mental health and substance abuse counseling, case management, nutrition, immunizations, health education, even regular dental check-ups with fluoride treatments are available during school hours. “It’s not just medical. It’s from dental to mental.” said Ellen Carroll, Ph.D, RN, CPNP, program director for the Dr. Appleby School Based Health Centers and the Human Services Council in Norwalk. Connecticut has had School Based Healthcare Centers (SBHCs) for the past 25 years. For low-income black and Hispanic families without insurance, this may be their [More]

June 12th, 2018

VT braces for loss of psychiatric bed Medicaid funding

By Janine Weisman

A special waiver exempts Vermont from a decades-old restriction prohibiting states from using Medicaid funds to cover services for non-elderly adults with mental health conditions in hospital settings with more than 16 beds. But Vermont’s waiver is set to expire starting in 2021 and phase out completely in 2025. That would leave the state on the hook for the $23 million in federal dollars being used to provide treatment for patients ages 21 to 64 at the Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital (VPCH) in Berlin and Brattleboro Retreat, said Department of Mental Health (DMH) Commissioner Melissa Bailey. A proposal among an [More]

June 11th, 2018

Revenue to focus on increasing inpatient capacity

By Pamela Berard

The Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) gave the go-ahead for the University of Vermont (UVM) Health Network to move forward on a project that would use the Network’s extra revenue from 2017 to increase inpatient mental health capacity in Vermont. The GMCB, established by the Vermont Legislature in 2011, is charged with reducing the rate of health care cost growth in Vermont while ensuring the state maintains a high-quality, accessible health care system. Vermont’s hospital budgets are regulated by the GMCB. When health care facilities exceed allowable budgeted net patient revenues, they are subject to review and possible regulatory action, [More]