Recent Posts

Prescription nation...

Posted on December 27,2013 by dirkmspp

Psychology is confronted by numerous issues and challenges today. One of which is the debate over the use of prescription medication for mental health illnesses. Over the past decade, one in five adults was prescribed a psychiatric drug such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and anti-anxiety medications. Prescriptions for psychiatric medications grew twenty two percent for adults between 2001 to 2010, and prescriptions for ADHD drugs such as Concerta and Vyvans tripled among adults twenty to forty four. This is a significant increase, especially when considering that prior to 1987 when Prozac came to the market, U.S. mental illness disability rate was one in every one hundred eighty four Americans, compared to one in every seventy six in 2007.

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Staying Grounded

Posted on December 27,2013 by dirkmspp

During the winter holiday I had the chance to head to a sunny part of the country to spend time with family and friends, and in the process found myself questioning my sanity continuing to live in such and dreary part of the country, filled with horrible drivers, unfriendly cyclists, and wicked questionable grammar. Then I remembered, Boston is a wonderful city! But living in such a cultured and thriving metropolis, has also caused me to forget my farm boy roots to some extent. I recently watched a hold Paul Harvey speech on farming – which was used during last year’s superbowl – it’s a wonderful add, and might stir up emotions in anyone who’s been exposed to farming life! As with most things in life, there’s a lesson in this…specifically, staying grounded and in touch with where we come from.

Paul Harvey

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Gaming & Violence...

Posted on December 13,2013 by dirkmspp

Mitt Romney, during his presidential campaign, proclaimed, “Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and TV and video games. The Virginia Tech shooter, like the Columbine shooters before him, had drunk from this cesspool”. The argument that violent video games causes kids to become violent has been made for a long time, fueled to some degree by the Columbine High School massacre, after it was discovered that shooters Dylan Harris and Eric Klebold were avid computer gamers. Ironically, Seung-Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter was seen by his roommates as odd, because he never joined them in video games. Researchers have yet to find any evidence between violent video games and youth violence.

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Posted on December 11,2013 by dirkmspp

Between 2009 and 2013, states have cut an astounding $4.35 billion in mental health funding. This should not come as a surprise, as social service programs tend to be the first budget items cut during difficult fiscal times. This begs to question if our state and federal legislators understand the importance of mental health treatment, never mind the significance of mental health treatment for adolescents.

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Don't be stressed!

Posted on November 29,2013 by dirkmspp

If you are reading this blog, then it means you have survived the first part of the triple threat-Turkey Day, but don’t breathe easy quite yet – we still have two more coming up - Christmas and New Year’s. Even though most of us are in the mental health field, I thought I would offer a few quick reminders on maintaining our mental health anyway. This can be applied when dealing with annoying family members, worried about having eaten too much on Turkey Day like me, getting lost to see distant relatives you don’t really like, or any other anxiety causing situation. Remember, our brain is primitive! Fears and primal emotions are generated in the part that isn’t quite as smart and sophisticated as our neo-cortex. Unfortunately that part often fails to apply reasonable logic to its reptilian counterpart.

Here are some ideas:

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Gratitude in action

Posted on November 27,2013 by dirkmspp

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year, during which we celebrate family, friendship, and we take the time to express our appreciation and gratitude to important members of our communities. One important group we pay homage to are our nations veterans - currently deployed in over 150 countries, and 68,000 service members are risking their lives on our behalf in Afghanistan. While there is no doubt our troops appreciate the pad on the back, I am challenging all of not to limit our gratitude to a mere 5 days a year, i.e., memorial day, veterans day, July 4th, Christmas and Thanksgiving.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that over 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and over twice that many experience homelessness during the year. A significant number of homeless veterans are suffering from substance abuse problems, and nearly 900,000 are waiting for their disability claims to be approved by the VA. While they are waiting for the much needed support, and while we pray for our troops to return safely from abroad, there are other things we can do. This includes, but is not limited to visiting our local homeless veteran service providers, involving others to volunteer, participating in local homeless coalitions, or making donations to homeless veteran service providers. I am challenging all of us to demonstrate our gratitude with action!

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Violence & Education

Posted on November 01,2013 by dirkmspp

There was a little headline in a Boston newspaper this week about the continued collaboration between MSPP and two inner city High Schools, with suspension rates significantly higher than other Boston area schools. As part of the program, alternatives are offered to students such as opportunities to make up lost work, mental-health screenings, and individual attention and support. I was particularly curious to see MSPPs work with struggling students this week, after the tragic murder of a 24 year old Boston area teacher by one of her pupils. There is little doubt that additional mental health resources need to be placed in our schools, but perhaps nowhere is it as vital as in communities riddling with poverty and violence.

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Academia is changing...

Posted on October 29,2013 by dirkmspp

Throughout the last several years, colleges and universities around the country have been adding programs and classes to their online rosters, opening university doors to many students who don't have the time or flexibility to commit to a traditional class schedule. In fact, over 6 million students, nearly a third of total enrollment at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, are now taking at least one online course. I am one of those students, faithfully working to balance my professional and personal life, with my academic one.

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MSPPs Support of Veterans!

Posted on October 18,2013 by dirkmspp

Hi –

If you haven’t had the chance, make sure to inquire about MSPPs Military and Veterans Psychology concentration for clinical psych students. Please note that I would be that last person to advocate on behalf of anything that I didn’t strongly believe in. However, MSPP has done an exceptional job in supporting the veteran community, beginning with its ‘Train Veterans to Treat Veterans Program’, and is now building on this with this new endeavor.

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Posted on October 15,2013 by dirkmspp

Dear All,

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