Mental Health

Momentum – Beacon’s progress bringing Zero Suicide to life

Sometimes we get so involved working on an initiative, it’s hard to mark our own progress.

One year ago at this time, Beacon Health Options was still drafting our suicide prevention white paper. In February 2017, Beacon released, “We Need to Talk About Suicide.”

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From misdiagnosis to stability: A story of struggle, of hope

My story is really about one of my daughters.

To protect her privacy as I tell her story, I’ll call her Elizabeth. Elizabeth has had suicidal ideations from since she was about 12 to about 17. At 4 years old, she was misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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The 2017 NAMI National Convention: Behind the Booth

Within hours of being at the Washington Hilton, I knew I was in for a special experience.

As I began to set up Beacon’s booth at the 2017 National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Annual Convention, I couldn’t help but notice the hopeful faces all around me.

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Suicide’s common tale: ‘If only I had spoken with him’

I first met “Ted” when I was barely 18, both of us transients in a city of transients where superficial friendships were the common social norm.

Ted was about 10 years older, and although we never dated, we had maintained casual contact with each other. We never discussed our personal history or hopes for the future, but I had sensed a deep, quiet loneliness about him that meshed with my own.

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The many faces of suicide

The phone rings, early on a Sunday morning. I’m excited, as it is a childhood friend whom I’m really looking forward to reconnecting with; only she asks me to let my parents know that her brother committed suicide the night before.

No words can describe the pain heard and felt. Of course, as outsiders, as onlookers, our first unspoken questions are “How did this happen?” “How did he do it?”

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The power of Zero

The U.S. News & World Report ranked Colorado Springs as number 11 on its list of 2017 Best Places to Live in the USA.

However, even in this ultimate vacation destination of snow-capped mountains and clean air, tragedy can strike.

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How to solve the Emergency Department boarding crisis? Systemwide change

Emergency Department (ED) “boarding” – when patients get stuck in the ED for hours, sometimes days, because there is no placement option readily available – is an issue across the country and has received much attention in Massachusetts recently.

Earlier this month, The Boston Globe published an article highlighting the fact that many of these individuals have behavioral health conditions.

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‘Precision medicine’: Where collaboration and competition meet

As a professional observer of healthcare for the last 20 years, the relationship between Adam Smith economics and healthcare research and developments has always fascinated me.

In brief, does the dynamic of competition that drives profit-making innovation propel, or hinder, medical breakthroughs?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative around “precision medicine” – treatment that focuses on the unique genetic code of the individual and not a one-size-fits-all treatment – begs that question.

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ACOs: Risk for the greater good

MassHealth is just weeks away from accepting applications from provider and insurance organizations to form Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

But what does that mean in terms of tangible impact to Beacon Health Options and companies like it, the Commonwealth, and most importantly, the member? Should we feel excited? Skeptical? Indifferent?

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Helping Students with Asperger’s Take the Stage

When I started teaching at a high school for students with learning differences, my first goal was to make my communication as clear as possible.

I streamlined my presentations, tried to wipe out any sarcasm that could be taken literally, and crafted obnoxiously clear assignment instructions. These tactics proved apt, but little did I know that my most effective communication would involve neither instruction nor planning.

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