General

Got Insurance? You’re Going to Have a Frustrating Wait for Rationed Mental Health Care

Yet again, insurance companies are getting away with rationing mental health care in America and treating mental disorders unequally when compared to physical conditions. And nobody seems to be listening -- or care.

We thought we had this problem licked with the historic passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, a law that banned insurance companies from discriminating against people with mental illness.

Unfortunately, insurance companies just found new ways to deny patients care for their mental health conditions -- through rationing access to service providers.

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General

Grief & Loss After the Election


After the historic election of 2016, where underdog businessman Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States, many people are in distress. There have been large anti-Trump protests of thousands of people in major cities across the country chanting, "Not my president."

Large groups of people were grieving yesterday, trying to come to terms with the failure to elect the first woman president. How do you cope with grief and loss after a contentious election like this?

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General

Healing After the Election

After any acrimonious election -- and the election of 2016 will go down in history as one of the worst -- there needs to be a time for the country to come together once again and heal. Healing is a normal, healthy part of any good relationship. And in order for our relationship with our government, politicians, and fellow citizens to heal, we need to remember the commonalities that bring us together.

Healing after an election may not be easy for everyone, and it may be especially difficult this election year. But we must heal in order to move forward and continue to grow our great nation.

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General

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 3

This is part 3 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1 and Part 2 too.

The Future of Therapy and Recovery



There is not a one track solution to this problem. Various schools of thought will need to come together to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to make high quality care affordable and accessible. The World Health Organization promotes ways for institutions to integrate mental health services into primary health care, aiming to raise...
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Creativity

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 2

This is part 2 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1.

Hear the Rattle and Click as the Door Slams Home. Welcome to Prison.


Without true understanding of how many people were touched by mental illness and what actions needed to be taken to help care for their personal welfare upon release from healthcare facilities, a concurrent rise in homelessness and surge of patients into correctional facilities began to unfold. (11) In a 2013 report to Congress...
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General

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 1

If you go into your internet browser’s search bar and type in the word “asylum,” a host of terrifying images of dirty hallways, rusty beds, and screaming faces will pop up. Let’s face it -- asylum is mostly known as a negative word, a place where unspeakable things occur in the movies that keep us awake at night. Regardless of its roots in providing protective safe haven, the concept of asylum receives a bad reputation mostly because of historical documentation of the awful and dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric hospitals.

"It's not easy to talk about. You don't want people to think you're 'nuts' when everyone in there is not nuts," Ann explains while sipping a cup of coffee. "During certain stays I had dignity, but there was one hospital where there were bed bugs all over. They had to keep changing my sheets and the staff would come in to clean them out of the lights." Now in her fifties, Ann has experienced many years of hospital stays at different institutions while combating major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Children and Teens

ER Beds for Kids Lacking, But School Programs Can Help

Everyone who is a front line clinician in an emergency room (ER) knows the hard reality of the lack of psychiatric services available. Discharging someone from an ER into inpatient mental health treatment is virtually nonexistent for adults. For kids, the situation is usually far worse.

The good news is that if we focus more on preventative care in school -- helping kids and preschoolers long before they have a full-blown diagnosis -- we may be able to stop them from ever having to use an emergency room. All we need do is start making mental health a funding priority for both the states and the federal government.

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General

Law and Disorder: How Police Practices Antagonize

Charlotte. Baton Rouge. Tulsa. Minneapolis. Los Angeles. Ferguson.

The violence explodes on your television set. You seethe.

“This is 2016 -- not 1968. Does the U.S. now stand for ‘Under Siege?”’ you fume.

Your anger is righteous. Racism is prevalent in the United States. And, yes, there are racially tinged police officers infecting American police forces.

But is your anger misplaced?
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General

Hillary Clinton on Mental Health in America

In the run-up to the Presidential election in America, we're examining the candidates' views on mental health and mental illness. Last month, we examined what little Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, had to say on mental health. He has spoken using terms for mental illness that most people have long since abandoned in order to insult others -- that's been the gist of his policy statements about mental illness.

This month, we'll examine the proposed mental health policy agenda of the Democrat's nominee for President, Hillary Clinton.

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Addiction

Mental Health and Addiction Among Inmates

Working with offenders allows you to see many interesting phenomena. Not only do you get to observe interesting behaviors and get a glimpse inside the thinking patterns of criminals, but there are interesting sociological observations as well. One of which is how life inside the walls mirror what is going on in society; cultural diversity, violence, drug use, etc.

While there is nothing new about drug use inside prisons, a new and interesting occurrence seems to be taking place. It would appear that much of the drug\alcohol use may be attributable to the inmates engaging in self-medication to treat known (or undiagnosed) mental illness.
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Bullying

Child Sexual Abuse: Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand

Right as the Summer Olympic Games started in Rio, the IndyStar reported that USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for gymnastics, ignored sexual abuse allegations filed against coaches. Complaints were reportedly filed against more than 50 gymnastics coaches, but authorities were not contacted about the complaints if they did not come directly from a victim or her parents. Three of those coaches have since been convicted, while a fourth killed himself in jail.

Before I mention any details, I have to give a trigger warning to trauma survivors. This news brought up a lot of poignant, ugly feelings for me.
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General

Mental Health Care in Massachusetts: Needs Rise While Spending Falls

What happens when society decides it will reimburse tens of thousands of dollars (or even hundreds of thousands) for a surgery that may offer only incremental improvements to a person's health or longevity, but won't spend thousands to help that person's mental health?

You get a second-class system of care. In America, we call this the mental health system, which is a separate and completely unequal player in the U.S. healthcare system. In fact, it is so dysfunctional and underfunded that American mental health care resembles some third-world countries.

The Boston Globe continues its examination into the Massachusetts mental health care system. And what they find is hardly surprising.

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