Interviews

April 13th, 2021

Do psychologists have unique role in helping country heal?

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the near-universal hardships and losses of the pandemic that have affected us all in some way, Americans are feeling stress and anxiety across the board. Yet, rather than reach out and support each other, some are losing their ability to come together because of political and social differences. These issues have destroyed friendships and decimated family bonds. A lot of conversations online and in the media center on how to mend relationships. It’s an area where psychologists may have special ability to use their skills and create new pathways for dealing with opposing viewpoints, said Jennie M. Kuckertz, Ph.D, [More]

April 13th, 2021

COVID-19 is impacting pediatric mental health

By Phyllis Hanlon

Research clearly demonstrates that the pandemic is having a significant negative effect on the younger generation. A November 2020 article, “Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations,” found both short-term and long-term “psychosocial and mental health implications” in this population. The article was published in Psychiatry Research. The authors noted that severity of the impact is subject to certain vulnerability factors including developmental age, educational status, pre-existing mental health conditions, low economic status, and quarantine because of or fear of infection. The increase in requests for treatment and lengthy wait [More]

April 13th, 2021

Drug overdoses rise but NH’s death rate dips slightly

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused more than half a million deaths in the United States. Sadly, those direct results of the virus may not tell the whole story. Across the United States, drug overdose deaths increased nearly 20 percent in the 12-month period ending last June, with a noticeable spike occurring during the early months of the Covid-19 shutdown. These figures, provided by the Centers for Disease Control, represented the highest number of fatal overdoses ever recorded in the U.S. in a single year. Throughout New England, the rates of death have seen an increase in the past year in [More]

April 13th, 2021

College students feel the mental health toll of pandemic

By Eileen Weber

In the past year, the pandemic has taken a significant mental and emotional toll. Mask wearing, social distancing, isolation, and quarantining are practically second nature. And, none of this is lost on college students who have had a very different school experience since last March. Jacqueline Alvarez, Ph.D, associate dean and director of the counseling center at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass., acknowledged increased depression and anxiety in college students has been a top concern for the past several years and it’s no different this year. But as she put it, “it’s complicated.” “Students have to carry their academic load [More]

April 12th, 2021

Survey: Households with children reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless

By Eileen Weber

Since last March, feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, and isolation are simply commonplace. What initially was presumed to be a shutdown for a few weeks has been prolonged into a year. People of all ages are experiencing the effects of the lack of normalcy. But children, adolescents, and young adults in particular are showing the strain. In an American Medical Association podcast in mid-February, Patrice Harris, M.D., M.A., discussed the mental health issues resulting from the pandemic. In her estimation, it’s necessary to have serious conversations—and serious action—about what she called “COVID fatigue” or “hitting the wall.” She considered it a [More]

April 12th, 2021

Psychologists ponder the future of their profession

By Phyllis Hanlon

When the COVID-19 virus invaded the United States last year, life as we knew it changed dramatically. For many psychologists, this shift prompted changes to the way they practiced. According to John F. Todaro, Ph.D., clinical associate professor in Brown University’s department of psychiatry and human behavior, many psychologists shifted to telehealth-based therapy within a couple of weeks following the pandemic-induced lockdown. Todaro, also clinical psychologist and director at Providence Behavioral Health Associates, feels for the most part that psychological therapy via a virtual platform has proven to be effective for a range of patients. For example, it has been [More]

April 12th, 2021

Data shows pandemic as ‘collective traumatic experience’

By New England Psychologist Staff

A year’s worth of data on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic has found that 40 to 50 percent of the general population is showing clinical levels of depression. “Which is what we’d expect,” said clinical psychologist Luana Marques, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Marques is also the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Massachusetts General Hospital Research Scholar 2020-2025. “Think about COVID-19 as a collective traumatic experience with a real threat,” she says. “And that threat is intensified by the economic turndown and other factors, such as systemic racism that were uncovered by the pandemic.” In [More]

March 8th, 2021

Impact of pandemic on ’emerging adults’ should not be overlooked

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into everyone’s plans. From weddings to holidays to vacation travel, we have all been impacted. School children struggle with online classwork and parents with managing a house full of people. Seniors have had to face increased health risks and the effects of the isolation meant to protect them. “There is something lost,” said Jeffrey Arnett, Ph.D, senior research scholar at Clark University. “We have all cancelled parties and family events and vacations and little things like dinners with friends. You do lose something and I think we all have to be honest about [More]

February 11th, 2021

Maine launches initiatives to address pandemic-related issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Approximately nine months after the COVID-19 virus was identified in the United States, Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched StrengthenME, an initiative designed to provide coping mechanisms for pandemic-related stress and anxiety before it becomes a more serious mental health issue. According to Jessica Pollard, Ph.D, director of the Maine DHHS Office of Behavioral Health, the state recognized the need for mental health supports and immediately looked to expand existing services, such as the Intentional Peer Warm Line. “We also launched new services, such as the Maine Frontline Warmline to support health care staff and first responders, [More]

February 10th, 2021

Dealing with on-going trauma a consequence of 2020 issues

By Catherine Robertson Souter

Twenty-twenty (2020) was a really long year. As one Twitter user posted, “Just don’t ask, ‘What else can happen?’ 2020 takes it as a challenge.” In the past 12 months, we have had wildfires, a world-wide pandemic, racial justice protests and counter-protests, a difficult election year, and murder hornets (!). And, even though we are well into a new year, we are not even close to out of it. Last year feels like it has never ended. People are done. People want the pandemic to be over but it is not. They want the election year divisiveness to be over but [More]

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