General, Articles

October 10th, 2019

Evidence doesn’t support claim linking mental illness, mass shooters

By Janine Weisman

The evidence suggests mass shootings perpetrated by individuals with mental illness account for less than one percent of gun-related homicides. But you wouldn’t know it from President Donald Trump’s comments after a pair of mass shootings during the first weekend in August killed more than 30 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Among Trump’s widely reported quotes: “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.” “The president is poorly informed about the research on gun violence generally and mass gun violence in particular,” said Robert Kinscherff, Ph.D., JD, a professor in the doctoral program in clinical [More]

October 9th, 2019

Reducing mental illness stigma is everyone’s responsibility

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

It may seem that trying to reduce the prejudice and discrimination that’s commonplace when talking about mental illness is a never-ending job. Because it is. But I believe that every single one of us needs to be responsible for helping to forward the conversation about mental illness. It can’t just be left to advocacy groups, government agencies, or professional associations. To me, that means challenging friends and even family members if they say something that is stigmatizing to people with mental illness, or suggest that a person with mental illness is somehow “less than.” After all, we wouldn’t let people [More]

July 5th, 2019

ME legislation seeks community-based mental health task force

By Eileen Weber

Mentally ill patients often end up in emergency rooms, homeless shelters, or even jails instead of getting much needed psychiatric care. Senator Cathy Breen (D- ) Recently proposed legislation to address that problem. Breen’s bill calls for a community-based task force that would assess mental health needs before a patient ends up in a place without adequate psychiatric care. Local law enforcement is backing the legislation, hoping it will have an impact on the state’s incarceration rates. In a Senate press release, Breen, who serves as chair of the egislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, explained that the reason for [More]

July 5th, 2019

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

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

In 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 [More]

May 28th, 2019

New Hampshire organization uses peer approach to provide kinship, hope

By Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

One of the worst parts about struggling with mental illness is the loneliness. You feel like you’re the only person on the planet to suffer with these symptoms or stressors. You feel like you’re abnormal, inherently wrong, or “other.” So, when someone truly listens to you, cares, and says “me, too,” it can be transformative. People who have felt alone their entire lives can find connection and purpose, said Peter Starkey, executive director of the Monadnock Area Peer Support Agency (MPS) in Keene, New Hampshire. MPS is one of 10 agencies of this type across the state. Staff was involved [More]

January 5th, 2019

Forensic psychologists bring psychological science to court

By Phyllis Hanlon

Television shows give the impression that forensics involves allure and excitement while specially trained professionals unravel subtle clues to track down serial killers. But those who are in the field of forensic psychology tell a different story. Shannon Bader, Ph.D, ABPP, chief of forensic evaluations for the state of New Hampshire, dismissed the notion of “glamour” in relation to forensic psychology; rather she noted that she occasionally gives testimony in court, but spends a significant amount of time reading, interviewing, and writing reports. Bader said that her religious background, in part, led her to this particular field where prisoners and [More]

January 4th, 2019

Home for the holidays

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

In exile, the heart longs for home. You can hear the longing in the voice of the man from the other side of the world, who has been stuck in the hospital for a decade through a combination of mental illness and legal problems. He recalls his childhood in a rural village and the spring where he filled a wooden bucket every day with fresh water for his family. That was long ago, and the world has changed. The spring is still there, and it still draws people from throughout the region, but that is about the only thing that [More]

October 6th, 2018

500 million, but the need still grows

By John Grohol, Psy.D.

Psych Central just reached an amazing milestone in our 23 years online. We’ve just passed 500 million visitors who’ve come to our site to learn more about mental illness symptoms and treatments, psychology, personality, parenting, or a relationship issue. We’re proud of this achievement, but we also realize we have a much longer road to travel. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual suicide rate in the United States has increased 24 percent since 1999. During this same time period, the availability of mental health information and support online has increased dramatically. We went from [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]

June 14th, 2018

Connecticut’s troubled adolescents lack coverage

By Eileen Weber

One in every five children between 13 and 18-years-old have or will have a serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Based on its statistics in 2015, only a little over half of children aged eight to 15 received mental health services. Laura Whitmore, associate minister at Southport Congregational in Southport, Conn., has first-hand experience with this situation. With approximately 100 kids and teens in the church’s middle and high school youth groups, she has seen an uptick in issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. But, there have been more alarming problems as well. “I [More]