The Associated Press: “College mental health screenings go high-tech”

Many college counseling centers are more swamped than ever, therapists say, particularly at this time of year, in the frenzy of final exams and job searches.

Dr. Richard Shadick, Director of Pace University’s Counseling Center in New York City and an adjunct professor of psychology, was interviewed about trends in screening college students for mental health issues – what works, what hasn’t.

Within the counseling field, there is no consensus about whether there really are more college students with mental health issues or whether they are simply increasingly willing to ask for help.

Some say that antidepressants and more support has made it more possible than ever for a student who is mentally ill to attend college. Others have noted that this generation of students seems less able to cope with stress, for whatever reason.

At Pace University in New York, counseling director Richard Shadick and his staff give a presentation at each “University 101” class for freshman and give them a survey to help them get a read on substance abuse and mental health problems they may be having. The mental health staff also spends time on campus giving mini screenings called “checkups from the neck up” and refers students who need help to the counseling center.

Learn more about how mental health is being taken seriously here at Pace and at other college campuses.

Esperanza: “Working around depression” (Cover Story)

Pressures at work can threaten your mental health, so you need a plan to handle the stress and safeguard your mood.

 When stress on the job saps your mental health, it’s time for a new business model. 

“Absenteeism, errors, conflicts with colleagues, missed deadlines, fatigue, difficulty concentrating—these are all indications that depression is an issue,” explains Dr. Richard Shadick, PhD, director of the counseling center at New York City’s Pace University, in the Winter 2011 issue of Esperanza.  Shadick says recent economic woes have only exacerbated the stress and anxiety levels of workers in the United States and Canada.

According to Shadick, when financial and family conditions permit, workplace depression actually can be an important impetus for change.  In that light, the very real pain of depression might be compared to the agony of labor, giving birth to a new existence.

“It can give us a chance to re-examine our lives and where we are,” Shadick says, “and in that sense it can also be a gift.”

The Largest Spanish Newspaper in the U.S. Seeks Pace Professor’s Expertise

La Opinión, the Largest Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S. quoted Pace’s director of the Counseling Center and Associate Professor or Psychology, Dr. Richard Shadick.

La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the U.S., quoted Pace’s director of the Counseling Center and Associate Professor of Psychology, Dr. Richard Shadick, about the impact of the recession on the mental health of students.

Translated text of the article:

Kristina Segura-Baird is now considered a “normal” teenager. But for a long time she had to cope in silence with the negative emotions caused by the sexual abuse she suffered.

“I did not want to talk to anyone about this, but now I’m glad to have received professional help,” says Young, who participated yesterday in a ceremony to support new laws that expand mental health services in schools.

Alarming data revealed that suicide is the third most common cause of death among 15 to 24 years and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics , one in five children and adolescents in the country suffer from some kind of mental problem, which is now compounded by the current economic crisis.

Dr. Richard Shadick , director of the Counseling Center at Pace University in New York and associate professor of psychology, said that the situation has worsened in recent times.

“Young people are suffering from the stress in their families and there are fewer services due to budget cuts,” says Shadick, noting that all of this greatly affects their academic performance as well as spurs other social ills.

Mental health programs were cut by 4% in 2009 and 5% in 2010, and will be reduced by 8% in 2011 – at a time when they are needed most.

A recent survey conducted jointly by The New York Times and CBS shows that four out of 10 children of unemployed parents show behavioral changes.  But Shadick clarifies that in many cases parents are so affected by their own problems, they don’t even notice these changes in their children.

Convinced that many of these problems can be prevented, Congresswoman Grace Napolitano spoke yesterday before a packed auditorium at the middle school youth Eastmont the Montebello Unified School District ( MUSD ).

Both she and a player for the Lakers, Ron Artest, shared some personal experiences, emphasizing the idea that we should not feel embarrassed when asking for help.

“I am a better father and husband because I have spent a lot of time and money to receive counseling. But I think everyone should have free access to these services,” said Artest.

Napolitano, author of the measure, HR 2531 Mental Health Act in Schools, stated that if it is approved by the legislature, the plan she created in 2001 in his district which has now expanded to 11 schools, including Eastmont, could be replicated throughout the country.

“What motivated me to create the program was to learn that one in three young Latinas has contemplated suicide,” said Napolitano.

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To read the article in Spanish, visit http://www.impre.com/laopinion/noticias/primera-pagina/2010/9/10/salud-mental-recibe-apoyo-209816-1.html#commentsBlock

New crusade for cops’ mental health

Although police officers have frequent contact with death, violence and other traumatic experiences, they are generally reluctant to seek the psychological counseling they may need for fear they will be stigmatized by their department and/or assigned to desk duties.

Contact
Christopher T. Cory, Director of Public Information, Pace University
212-346-1117, cell 917-608-8164, ccory@pace.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Note: Henry gives testimony before New York City Council 9/11 hearing Thursday, April 15, 1:00 PM

POLICE, FIRE AND RESCUE DEPARTMENTS NEED NEW POLICIES
FOR HOLOCAUST-LIKE SYMPTOMS OF SURVIVING DEATH,
SAYS PACE UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR

Vincent E. Henry, former NYPD sergeant, bases advocacy on
new study of officers’ reactions to death trauma,
“Death Work: Police, Trauma and the Psychology of Survival” (Oxford)

New York, NY, April 14, 2004 — Although police officers have frequent contact with death, violence and other traumatic experiences, they are generally reluctant to seek the psychological counseling they may need for fear they will be stigmatized by their department and/or assigned to desk duties.

Many officers mistrust their departments’ intentions toward traumatized cops, the capabilities of department psychologists, and the confidentiality of the services that departments provide.

And the same often goes for other emotionally-wounded first responders like firefighters – and even for workers in “slaughterhouse” industries.

Vincent E. Henry, a retired New York City Police sergeant who earned his Ph.D. in psychology and now teaches criminal justice at Pace University, is out to make employers more compassionate.

For instance, based on research on these little-recognized issues just published in “Death Work: Police, Trauma and the Psychology of Survival” (Oxford University Press), he testifies April 15 at 1:00 PM in the City Hall Committee Room before the New York City Council’s Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services’ hearing on “Funding for Post-September 11 Mental Health Services.”

Holocaust and Hiroshima parallels. Henry’s book is largely based on doctoral research supervised by the eminent psychologist and psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton and completed in May 2001. Henry conducted extensive interviews of 50 cops (including rookies, homicide detectives, crime scene investigators, and officers who killed someone in the line of duty), detailing how death experiences shape their personal and professional lives.

Henry argues that police reactions to death trauma often have a hitherto-unrecognized similarity to patterns that Lifton identified in his classic works on the survivors of Hiroshima, the Holocaust and Vietnam veterans.

First responders, Henry found, exhibit five characteristic psychological themes including “psychic numbing,” “death guilt,” a “death imprint,” “suspicion of the counterfeit,” and a compelling “need to make meaning” of their experience.

Hospice workers, death row staff members. In an introduction to “Death Work,” Lifton says Henry’s findings apply to firefighters and rescue workers of all kinds, military personnel, doctors and health workers (especially in hospices), undertakers, prison staff on death row, and even those working in meatpacking or “slaughterhouse” industries.

Henry, a 21-year veteran of the NYPD, saw his findings played out again on 9/11 — both in himself and in the officers he supervised at Ground Zero in the weeks and months that followed. “Death Work” contains a chapter devoted to the 9/11 experience.

Henry now serves on the board of directors of the New York Disaster Counseling Coalition (NYDCC), whose 300 fully-licensed volunteer clinicians have provided hundreds of first responders and family members with free, confidential psychological services “for as long as it takes” and without a potentially stigmatizing paper trail.

Emotional breakdowns. Henry argues that many police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service personnel — perhaps especially those who responded on 9/11 — are emotionally hurt by their traumatic experiences, and that their performance can be affected for the worse if they do not come to terms with the death that surrounds them.

He gives vivid examples of pent-up feelings that raise the odds that cops will
· Experience explosive anger, immobilizing fear or other powerful emotions;
· Resort to the use of excessive alcohol or medication;
· Avoid situations or assignments that could trigger upsets (One cop who lost his long-time working partner was reminded of the man several years later, experiencing a physical and emotional breakdown);
· Become increasingly cynical and unproductive (“Why should I go out of my way? I have my own problems to deal with”);
· Become increasingly depressed, withdrawn and isolated, raising the potential for suicidal thoughts or actions; and
· Develop full-blown Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and increase the number of psychological disability retirements and sick absences related to stress.

Trapped under trains. His other efforts to increase understanding of how death trauma affects officers’ lives include formulating model training protocols and giving presentations that
· Help prepare officers to deal with such horrifying and grotesque death events as still-living people trapped under trains who will die when the trains are moved to rescue them and restore service;
· Sensitize officers to the fact that their troubling experiences are actually entirely normal reactions to entirely unnatural events;
· Train officers to recognize — in themselves and in other officers — the behaviors and emotions related to the psychology of survival’s five themes;
· Help prepare officers for the possibility that they may one day take a life in the performance of their duties;
· Provide role plays and other training to help officers deliver death notifications to families more compassionately;
· Provide clinicians and therapists with insights into the realities of death-related police experience, police culture, and the unique dynamics of police families;
· Educate the public and the academic community to the compelling psychological issues officers face as a result of their encounters with death trauma.

He addresses the Psychoanalytic Institute of the Baruch College/CUNY Postgraduate Center for Mental Health on April 30, having addressed the city Police Academy’s annual “Women and Policing” conference March 31. He often is called on by media and police agencies across the nation for his expert opinion on issues related to police trauma and police management. He is creating a curriculum unit for the criminal justice courses he teaches at Pace (which graduates approximately 60 future officers a year), and is thinking about how to share it with those responsible for police-training elsewhere.

Henry argues that dealing with death in a sensible way is important for becoming a truly “good cop.” “It’s just that current police department policies and procedures should not automatically tilt toward relieving traumatized police of their responsibilities,” he says.

Pace is a comprehensive, independent university committed to opportunity, teaching and learning, civic involvement and measurable outcomes. It has seven campuses, including downtown and midtown New York City, Pleasantville, Briarcliff, White Plains (a graduate center and law school), and a Hudson Valley Center at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, N.Y. More than 14,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School. Www.pace.edu.