Leading Stories, Articles

August 27th, 2019

Shifting cultural patterns challenge therapists who specialize in addiction

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Addiction Center reports that nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction; and drug overdose deaths have tripled since 1990. Furthermore, alcohol and drug addiction cost the economy more than $600 billion annually. As addiction continues to take a physical, social and financial toll, mental health professionals strive to help those who struggle. To determine a diagnosis and appropriate course of action, Sean J. McGlew, Psy.D, LP, traumatic stress and addiction psychologist at the Cambridge HealthAlliance outpatient center, created the Comprehensive Use Assessment, a tool that looks at a patient’s current and past relationship with substances, frequency of [More]

March 11th, 2019

Legislation provides mental health support for first responders

By New England Psychologist Staff

First responders to emergencies have a heavy burden to bear and often do not ask for emotional support. Massachusetts recently passed a law specifically to help this population. Senator Michael Moore (D-Second Worcester District) was instrumental in passing legislation for mental health services for first responders. It highlights the mental trauma related to specific events on the job. The bill went into effect on January 16 and applies to firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement officers. “When you respond to a fire or a baby dies and you’re trying to save them,” he explained. “I don’t know how you wouldn’t take [More]

January 2nd, 2019

Yale report shows corrections agencies are reducing use of solitary confinement

By Janine Weisman

The total number of people spending time alone in a U.S. prison or jail cell for an average of 22 hours or more per day for 15 continuous days is decreasing. So is the number of those with serious mental illness (SMI). That’s according to the most comprehensive study of national data on the number of prisoners in restrictive housing — or what is more commonly known as solitary confinement. “Reforming Restrictive Housing,” released in October from the Association of State Correctional Administrators (ASCA) and the Arthur Liman Center for Public Interest Law at Yale Law School, estimated that 61,000 [More]

November 8th, 2018

Avoidance of triggers may have negative consequences

By Catherine Robertson Souter

With the public testimony and accusations around sexual assault in the national spotlight in recent months, there has been increased attention paid to how these reports may be triggering psychological responses in the general public. Reportedly, reading about or hearing testimony from Christine Ford Blasey, Ph.D, a professor of clinical psychology at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has led women and men around the country to experience their own emotional and physiological responses. Ford testified about her accusations of sexual assault perpetrated during their teen years by Judge Brett Kavanaugh. It [More]

August 30th, 2018

Border separation takes emotional toll on children

By Eileen Weber

Reports of family separation at the Mexican border set off a firestorm. Video and audio demonstrated the conditions in which the more than 3,000 children lived. An estimated 1,600 parents are still in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. With reunification underway, the Trump administration recently admitted that more than 450 immigrant parents separated from their children may have been deported. “I find Trump’s policy of separating children from parents shocking, appalling, and extremely cruel,” said Richard McNally, Ph.D, professor and director of clinical training in the department of psychology at Harvard University. McNally has focused much of his [More]

August 30th, 2018

Developmental trauma disorder is focus of research

By Catherine Robertson Souter

It would surprise no one that children who have been mistreated or have been subjected to another form of trauma would experience repercussions. It makes sense that trauma can result in symptoms that look like behavioral disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, anxiety, depression, or ADHD. Yet, for many children the symptoms are treated as not being related to their traumatic experiences. As part of an on-going research project, Julian D. Ford, Ph.D, A.B.P.P., professor of psychiatry and law at the University of Connecticut and director of the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice, and colleagues Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D. and Bessel [More]

March 6th, 2018

In-service training to focus on police officers’ mental health

By Catherine Robertson Souter

There were 19 deaths of police officers by suicide in Massachusetts in 2016 and 2017, the fourth highest number of suicides in the country. That is not fourth highest rate per 1,000 but fourth highest total number overall. The state is the 15th largest by population. According to Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit law enforcement mental health awareness group based in Auburn, Mass., there were 286 deaths nationwide. A bill currently before the state’s legislature looks to address the issue by mandating in-service training on mental health as well as annual mental wellness and suicide prevention courses for all current officers. [More]

February 10th, 2018

Mental health, harassment among Vermont’s priorities

By Eileen Weber

Vermont’s House Speaker Mitzi Johnson (D-Grand Isle-Chittenden) and Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe (D/Prg-Chittenden) want to collaborate with Governor Phil Scott this year on legislation for education, clean waterways, a $15 minimum wage, better mental healthcare and stronger sexual harassment policies and procedures. In the wake of rampant opioid addiction and the #MeToo movement, the two relevant issues are mental health and sexual harassment. Ashe and Johnson are in favor of legislation that not only addresses the high cost of prescription drugs but also limits prescription pain killers. Johnson said the opioid epidemic may account for the rise in [More]