Institute of Living News

2017: JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC 



HHC Behavioral Health Leader Urges Employers to Offer Support for Staff Fighting Addiction
Senior Vice President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network Pat Rehmer is urging business leaders to give employees support and access to treatment if they’re battling opioid or other addiction. Read more.

'Jansporting': The Backpack And The Bottle

A warning for parents about the latest dangerous – perhaps even deadly – college campus trend: Jansporting. Read more. 

NFL Protest: 'Mom, What Does 'Taking A Knee' Mean?'

The latest hot social media trend -- NFL players and other athletes "taking a knee" during the national anthem in a show of solidarity after comments by President Trump -- has parents scrambling on what to tell their kids. Read more. 

HHC engineer seeks to ‘pay it forward’ as recovery coach
Recovery is Michael Meheran’s passion.  Now, the Hartford Hospital Engineering Department staff member would like to make helping people find the peace he’s experienced in sobriety a career. Read more. 

Natchaug Hospital to Offer Free Depression Screenings at Outpatient Sites on Oct. 5
To mark National Depression Screening Day on October 5, Natchaug Hospital and Hartford HealthCare at Home are offering free, confidential depression screenings at several outpatient centers throughout Connecticut. Read more.

How Recovery Coaches Can Reshape The ER
With crowded waiting rooms and busy clinicians, mental health and substance abuse patients don’t always receive the most optimal care in healthcare settings.  And for good reason – emergency room  staff are generally focused on serious physical problems, rapid assessments and “in the moment” treatment. Read more. 

A New Voice Of Recovery At Behavioral Health Network

For Karen Kangas, the Behavioral Health Network’s new Director of Recovery and Family Affairs, hope is the best tool you can give a person battling addiction and mental illness. Read more.

A Life Worth Living: Zero Suicide Initiative Focuses on Helping At-Risk Patients
Suicide prevention is a topic that’s very close to Patricia Hayward-Paige’s heart.  The Natchaug pharmacy technician lost a close friend to suicide nearly 20 years ago. Read more. 

Preventing Teen Suicide

It's a serious subject that some people avoid talking about - but it needs to be spoken of regularly for the purpose of saving lives! Read more. 


With New Therapy Guide, Hoarding Goes From Pop Culture To Evidence-Based Practice
Movies and television have long featured people suffering from common mental health conditions. Hoarding disorder has been highlighted on “The Dr. Oz Show,” “The Oprah Winfrey Show and the A&E series “Hoarders.” Read more. 


Know the Difference Between Real and “Fake” Health CareMost health care practices help people feel better and can save lives. But there’s a side of health care that’s not only not helpful, but potentially harmful. Read more. 

The IOL’s Lawrence Haber elected to AABH Board of Directors

Lawrence Haber, Ph.D., director of ambulatory, health psychology and young adult services at The Institute of Living, was elected to the board of directors of the Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare (AABH). For more than 50 years, the AABH has served as a conduit for best practices and networking in the industry. Its mission is to promote partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs as a vital component of the behavioral healthcare continuum. The vision of the AABH is to provide education, advocacy and support for partial hospitalization programs and intensive outpatient programs. Young Adult Services at The Institute of Living received the Program of the Year Award from the AABH in 2015.

2017 Burlingame Award winner announced

The Institute of Living’s C. Charles Burlingame, M.D. Award, given to honor an outstanding leader in clinical psychiatry, research, education or administration, is made in memory of Dr. Burlingame, Psychiatrist-in-Chief from 1931 to 1950. The 2017 award will be given to Harold Alan Pincus, MD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians & Surgeons at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. The Burlingame Award Program is scheduled for October 18 and 19 with the award dinner on Wednesday evening and Grand Rounds-style presentation on Thursday morning.

Interested to participate in brain research?

The Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital is recruiting participants with no current or lifetime history of psychiatric problems for an MRI-based study. Participants will complete 2 MRIs within 16 weeks to evaluate how the brain responds to different tasks. Enrolled participants will be compensated up to $200 for their time. This study is open to adults ages 40 – 65 years old that meet the study criteria. Please call 860-545-7039 or email for more information.

Alcohol Addiction: Out From The Shadows Of Opioid Abuse

While opioid abuse is getting the headlines, the recent death of actor Nelsan Ellis confirms that alcohol addiction remains a major problem in society. Read more.

Netflix Takes On Anorexia In “To The Bone”

First suicide, now anorexia. Netflix certainly isn’t shying away from controversial topics. On the heels of the “13 Reasons Why” series on suicide, Netflix has created a new movie, “To the Bone,” that focuses on anorexia and debuts July 14. Read more


IOL Awards and Recognition Day

The annual Institute of Living Awards and Recognition Day was held on Tuesday, June 27, in the Commons Building. IOL and hospital leaders were on hand to congratulate and acknowledge employees who went above and beyond the call of duty in the areas of patient care, research, family support and more. Click here to view the list of award recipients.

IOL Volunteer Program Wins ‘High Impact’ Award

The New England Association of Directors of Healthcare Volunteer Services (NEADHVS) chose the Institute of Living’s Peer Volunteer Program as the recipient of its annual President’s Award for Outstanding Program Development in the category of High Impact Volunteer Services. Read more. 

National Events Encourage Suicide Conversation

Once a taboo subject, suicide is being talked about openly lately due to the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” and a recent controversial court case in Taunton, Mass. in which a teenage girl was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide through text messages and phone calls. Read more. 

Is There Anything Good about ‘13 Reasons Why?’

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based on a young- adult novel of the same name, has captured the attention of adolescents and adults alike since its release on March 31. Many have criticized the series for glamorizing suicide and risking an increase in copycat suicides. Read more. 

HHC Behavioral Health Network to Host Screening and “What’s Wrong (and Right) with ‘13 Reasons Why’” Forum

The Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network (BHN) is hosting a community screening and forum entitled, “What’s Wrong (and Right) with ‘13 Reasons Why’” on Monday, June 12 starting at 6 pm at Real Art Ways in Hartford. Read more. 

Understanding the ‘Gender Revolution’

Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric is a new documentary film from National Geographic that aims to foster conversation on this issue and promote understanding of the notion that gender exists on a spectrum. A screening of the film and a panel discussion will be held from 6-9 p.m., June 6 at Real Art Ways in Hartford. Read more. 


The IOL's Dr. Karen Blank Wins Alzheimer’s Association Award

Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. More than 5 million Americans currently have the disease — and that number could rise to 16 million by 2050. With diagnoses of Alzheimer’s and dementia on the rise, coordination between providers and community organizations is critical to support patients and their caregivers. Read more. 

APA Presentations

Researchers at the Burlingame Center for Psychiatric Research and Education made four presentations at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. This year’s meeting took place at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California from May 20-24, 2017. The titles of their presentations are listed below:

  • Associations Between LOS and Readmission: Variability by Time to Readmission and Diagnosis - John W. Goethe, M.D., Julia Golden, B.A., Bonnie Szarek R.N., Stephen B. Woolley, D.Sc.
  • Metabolic Syndrome in Young Adults With and Without Depression: A Cross-Sectional Study of the Roles of Inflammation and Stress - Stephen B. Woolley, D.Sc., M.P.H., M.S., Bruce Blanchard, Ph.D., Julia Golden, B.A., Jessica Howard, B.A., John W. Goethe, M.D., Valerie B. Duffy, Ph.D., R.D.
  • Polypharmacy in Bipolar Disorder: Associations with Clinical and Demographic Variables - Julia Golden B.A., John W. Goethe, M.D.
  • Risk of Hospital Readmission in MDD: Associations with Obesity, Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - Julia Golden B.A., John W. Goethe, M.D., Stephen B. Woolley, D.Sc.

What To Say To Your Child About England Concert Bombing

What should your young children know about the suicide bombing Monday night in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people and injured at least 119 at a concert by pop artist Ariana Grande attended by thousands of teens? Read more. 

’13 Reasons Why’ Risks Copycat Suicides

Public discussion about suicide is to be embraced, not avoided. The devil, as always, is in the details. Which brings us to “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix series about the fictional Liberty High School and Hannah Baker, the protagonist, who takes her life. The series is criticized for glamorizing suicide and risking a rise in copycat deaths. On that score, it may be guilty. Read more. 

Ellen Blair receives her Doctorate in Nursing Practice

Ellen Blair, Director of Nursing at The Institute of Living, received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice, from the University of Saint Joseph's on May 13, 2017. Her doctoral project was entitled "Non- psychiatric Nurses’ Perceived Self-efficacy After an Educational Intervention on Suicide Prevention and Care"

’13 Reasons’: How Do Parents Deal With A Show For Kids About Suicide?

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based on a young- adult novel of the same name, has captured the attention of adolescents and adults alike since its release on March 31. The series tells the story of teenager Hannah Baker who takes her own life and leaves behind cassette tapes chronicling the 13 reasons why she did it. Read more

A Warning To Parents On Blue Whale Challenge Suicide ‘Game’ For Teens

Most people have heard of Russian Roulette. But now a lesser-known game emanating from Russia is a new threat to children and teens across the globe – including Connecticut. Read more


Students Combat Mental Health Stigma at 14th Annual BrainDance Awards

Nineteen students and one teacher from schools in Connecticut and Minnesota were honored at the 14th annual BrainDance Awards on April 27, presented by The Institute of Living (IOL) at Hartford Hospital. Read more

April 19th performance of "Next to Normal" at TheaterWorks to benefit the BHN

The HHC Behavioral Health Network (BHN) is a sponsor for the TheaterWorks show, “Next to Normal,” a Pulitzer Prize and Tony award-winning musical about a mother (Diana) who struggles with worsening bipolar disorder and the effects that her illness have on her family. HHC will also partner with TheaterWorks to host "TalkBack Tuesdays", community dialogues highlighting mental health and addiction featuring an intimate, post-show chat with cast and special guests. The TalkBack Tuesday on April 25th is titled "There Will Be Light" - Journey to Wellness and Recovery and features Harold Schwartz, MD, IOL Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Vice President, HHC BHN and Karen Kangas, Director of Recovery and Family Affairs, HHC BHN. “Next to Normal” explores many paths to wellness and recovery ending with the hope that, “There Will Be Light.” This talkback conversation will delve into all the ways Diana ventures to find recovery.

In addition, one of the performances, Wednesday, April 19th, is a fundraiser for HHC's Behavioral Health Network. This special evening includes a pre-show cocktail reception and a post-show conversation with the cast. Tickets are $90, of which $80 will go to BHN programs. TheaterWorks has reserved the entire house for HHC employees that evening.

For more information on “Next to Normal,” which runs from March 24th - May 7th, visit Tickets can be purchased by calling the TheaterWorks box office at 860.527.7838, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. When calling, mention that you are an HHC employee in order to receive your 15% discount. Tickets bought for these Tuesday shows will include admission to TalkBack Tuesdays. But you do not need to be attending the show to attend the Talk Back Tuesdays.


Esketamine Study for Treatment-Resistant Depressive Disorder

The IOL's Burlingame Center for Psychiatric Research and Education is currently recruiting patients 18-64 years of age for a clinical research study for patients with depression who have not responded to prior treatment with an antidepressant.

For more information about this trial, please contact:
Dr. Andrew Winokur
Phone: 860.545.7502

IOL names Ryan Reinsch as Nurse Coordinator

Ryan Reinsch has assumed the role of Nurse Coordinator for the inpatient psychiatric units at the IOL. Mr. Reinsch comes to the IOL from Hartford Hospital, where he has worked since 2013. Mr. Reinsch began in the HH Emergency Department, first as a staff nurse, then promoted to Nurse Manager in 2015, overseeing the acute Behavioral Health Unit, Purple Pod, as well as the North 12 Observational Unit. Mr. Reinsch led several initiatives for the Behavioral Health area in the ED, including implementation of the safety screening protocol for BH patients, initiation and continuation of CPI training for all purple pod staff, and reducing the incidence of restraints and the average time in restraint through educational training and the introduction of the restraint huddle/audit form. Mr. Reinsch received his education at Goodwin College, obtaining an Associate’s Degree of Applied Science in Nursing, and will be graduating in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing from the University of Hartford.

IOL researchers recently published in Psychiatric Quarterly

Ellen W. Blair, APRN, NEA-BC, Stephen B. Woolley, DSc, MPH, Bonnie L. Szarek, RN, Theodore F. Mucha, MD, Olga Dutka, MSN, MBA, Harold I. Schwartz, MD, Jeff Wisniowski, MPH, and John W. Goethe, MD recently authored an article that was published in Psychiatric Quarterly, Volume 88, number 1, March 2017. The title of their article is "Reduction of Seclusion and Restraint in an Inpatient Psychiatric Setting: A Pilot Study."


Shyness Or Social Phobia? It’s All In How It Affects Your Life

Shy people, the introverts, are an essential counterweight on the balance scale of human behavior. But there’s a difference between shyness and social phobia, one of five major types of anxiety disorders, punctuated by an all-consuming anxiety and extraordinary self-consciousness in common social situations. (Read more...)

Federal Government Asks IOL To Research Different Type Of DUI (Marijuana)

When it comes to driving under the influence, a lot is known about the effects of alcohol on drivers, and the best tests to use to determine if a driver has been drinking too much.

But it’s a different story with marijuana, which affects people in different ways than alcohol and can be challenging to test for impairment.

That’s why the federal government has turned to the 
Institute of Living to conduct two research experiments to explore the hazards of driving under the influence of marijuana. (Read more...)

Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Week at the IOL

February is National Therapeutic Recreation Awareness Month. The Institute of Living is designating the week of February 20th-24th as a time to recognize the valuable role that Recreational Therapists play on the inpatient units, outpatient programs, Todd House and Eli’s Retreat. Therapeutic Recreation involves educational and recreational services that assist people with illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions to explore and use their leisure in ways that enhance well-being, functional abilities, independence, and ultimately, their quality of life. Throughout communities, Therapeutic Recreation services are provided in clinical settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes, as well as in park and recreation departments, adult day care centers, independent living facilities, and schools. At the IOL, Recreational Therapists use group and one-to-one interventions to provide information and activities that increase patients' awareness of the benefits of the positive use of leisure. They assist patients to overcome barriers to participate in the countless variety of interests, modes of exercise, and other productive leisure pursuits available in their lives. They also facilitate numerous wellness-oriented groups that enable patients to work toward taking personal responsibility for their health and well-being, increase their commitment to a healthy lifestyle, and realize the rewards of participation in positive activities that offer a sense of purpose and satisfaction. Additionally, they host Pet Therapy and Yoga volunteers that add quality and variety to the patients’ experience.

Psychiatric Vocational Services at the IOL receives Full Circle Award

The Department of Psychiatric Vocational Services here at The Institute of Living was honored with a Full Circle Award for their work. Their goal is to provide clients in the IOL outpatient program employment opportunities on the IOL campus to gain work skills, social skills and confidence. They accomplish their goals by having Psychiatric Vocational Services staff at three work sites (IOL cafeteria, IOL gift shop and IOL greenhouse) provide clients a supportive, safe and encouraging environment while teaching them necessary job skills that are transferable to work outside in the community. Staff then assist their clients with employment placements. Eighty percent of their clients have graduated from the program and are successfully working outside the hospital community.

New Unit Leader named for the Adult and Geriatric Inpatient Service

Jenna Marchetto has been appointed Unit Leader for the Adult and Geriatric Inpatient Service at The Institute of Living. In this capacity, Ms. Marchetto will be assisting the managers of the adult and geriatric services as well as supervising the Patient Administrative Associates for the adult and geriatric units. Ms. Marchetto comes to the IOL from Baystate Medical Center where she was a Practice Care Associate for Baystate Rehabilitation Care. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 2013 in Human Nutrition and Foods from West Virginia University. During her undergraduate studies, she was involved in several projects aimed at improving health and nutrition in the community. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration at Saint Joseph University.

The IOL's Dr. Durst recently honored

Linda S. Durst, M.D., Medical Director/Associate Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at The Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital was inducted into the American College of Psychiatrists this month.


The IOL's Annetta Caplinger appointed to prestigious national board

IOL Vice President of Clinical Operations Annetta Caplinger was recently appointed to the Board of Directors for the prestigious National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems.The NAPHS advocates at a national level for psychiatric centers such as the IOL, and Caplinger’s appointment is a reflection of a life dedicated to understanding the needs of people with behavioral health issues, and creating the best possible setting for them to recover and realize their full potential. Her term on the board is for three years.

14th Annual BrainDance Awards

The Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital is sponsoring an academic and art competition designed to decrease the stigma of mental illness. The BrainDance Awards encourage high school students to gain knowledge about psychiatric diseases and develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective toward people with severe psychiatric problems. The competition also aims to promote students’ interest in careers in mental health care. To receive a BrainDance Award, a student must submit an academic project or an art project on themes related to severe mental illness. Awards up to $1,000 will be given to the best submissions. The projects will be judged by expert clinicians and researchers in the field, based on:

  • Relevance to the issue of stigma
  • Creativity
  • Accuracy of information
  • Scientific rigor

Projects on any theme related to severe mental illness will be considered for an award. The categories are: Scientific, Creative Expression (written or visual), and Mixed Media. All applicants, their teachers, families and classmates will be invited to an awards day celebration hosted by The Institute of Living on April 27th, 2017. This day is designed to be an educational extension opportunity and will include a lecture by a national expert on mental illness, an awards presentation, a visit to our Myths, Minds & Medicine museum on the history of mental health care and a tour of our neuro-imaging research center. Winners can present a brief synopsis summarizing their projects. All applicants are encouraged to present a poster describing their project. The student lecture and poster presentations are designed so all participants can cite their BrainDance projects on future school or job applications. To apply for the awards: please log on to: and follow the link to BrainDance for application forms, information and procedures. The submission deadline is February 1, 2017. For more information, email Nancy Hubbard or contact her at 860-545-7665.

Past News & Notes:

News & Notes from 2016 View Online
News & Notes from 2015 View Online
News & Notes from 2014 View Online
News & Notes from 2013 View Online
News & Notes from 2012 View Online
News & Notes from 2011 View Online
News & Notes from 2010 View Online
News & Notes from 2009 View Online
News & Notes from 2008 View Online
News & Notes from 2007 View Online


Read BHNews, an employee newsletter for The Institute of Living, Natchaug, Rushford and the behavioral health departments at Backus, MidState & HOCC.

Read it now