November 2017
In This Issue
Who We Are
As a Massachusetts
Department of Mental Health Research Center of Excellence, SPARC aims to improve the mental and behavioral health of all citizens of Massachusetts and beyond.
Transitions RTC
A division of SPARC, the Transitions RTC promotes the full participation in socially valued roles of transition-age youth and young adults (ages 14-30) with serious mental health conditions.
What We Do
SPARC and Transitions RTC are committed to transferring knowledge and insights gained through rigorous research to improve the lives of people with lived mental health experience.

We conduct Participatory Action Research, an all-inclusive approach that ensures that every aspect of our research incorporates the voices of those with lived mental health experience. 
Tell Us What You Think
We want to hear from you!
If you are interested in knowing more about a particular area of research or want to collaborate with us, please let us know .
Contact us at:
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Stay Connected

Upcoming Events
Don't miss our December 14th webinar featuring Gina Vincent, Ph.D.!

Adolescents Charged with Domestic Battery (ADB) on a Parent: Assessment and Management 

There has been an increase in the number of youth referred to the juvenile justice system for violence against a caregiver. This webinar will examine a) different categories of youth charged with ADB, b) how to best assess youth to make appropriately informed justice and treatment-related decisions, and c) various coordinated treatment approaches with the potential for success. Dr. Vincent will highlight the Adolescent Domestic Battery Typologies Tool, an assessment tool that provides a structured framework to help inform case processing, dispositional, and treatment decisions based on an assessment of a youth's risk for future adolescent domestic battery.    

Date & Time: 
December 14, 2017 
1:30PM to 2:30PM EDT

Register here!
What's New at SPARC

What Do You Know about Serving Southeast Asian Immigrants & Refugees? Here are 5 Tips!

Immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia, including Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, often do not easily talk about mental health conditions. Sometimes symptoms of stress are not seen as psychological, but are attributed to other causes or described as physical ailments. Many Southeast Asian refugees have experienced trauma, sometimes severe, in their home countries prior to leaving or during their travels to the United States. Increasing your sensitivity to the traditions and culture of Southeast Asia can help you to better serve your clients. 

What you should know: 
  1. Limit physical contact. A small bow is respectful for all genders. Avoid touching the head, as this is considered particularly offensive.
  2. Minimize eye contact. Prolonged eye contact is considered disrespectful and inappropriate.
  3. Recognize the importance of family. Acknowledge and respect each member of the family; each member has a place and role within the family unit. Offering therapy and engagement to the entire family can help support your client who is in treatment. 
  4. Be aware of your body language. Don't put your hands in your pockets - this can be perceived as arrogance. Do not wink or use the OK symbol. Smiling shows respect and can convey an apology. 
  5. Understand and respect traditional Chinese medicines. Learn the basic principles, such as yin and yang and the imbalance of the elements. Your clients may receive care from a traditional healer; know which medicines could have harmful interactions with psychiatric medications, such as herbs or teas. 
Lastly, partnering with cultural brokers, culturally competent providers, patient advocates, and organizations like the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts, Inc., can assist you in building a trusting relationship with your Southeast Asian clients.  

Keep Informed 
Did you miss the Transitions RTC's latest webinar, Navigating School and Work with a Serious Mental Health Condition? You can watch it here.

This webinar described the educational and employment activities of young adults with SMHC and the successes and challenges they encounter, including challenges specific to their mental health conditions.

Working Together
Based on real-world experience, this new tip sheet provides guidance to states on how to develop a strategic plan to bridge state agencies to support youth and young adults with mental health conditions. Read this Transitions RTC tip sheet here.

Reducing Stress for a Healthier You
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), a curriculum developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, helps individuals incorporate mindfulness practice into their daily lives to help cope with stress, chronic pain, and other chronic medical conditions. Read this issue brief to learn about recent research on mindfulness and recommendations for a mindfulness-based approach to wellness.

You can view the American Sign Language translation here on SPARC's YouTube Channel. See more of our Mindfulness and Wellness issue briefs.  
Rosalie Torres Stone  
Rosalie Torres Stone, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Clark University and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at SPARC. Dr. Torres Stone's research focuses on the effect of social inequality with a special emphasis on underserved minority populations and health/mental health. Her early research examined how race/ethnicity and gender explain labor market differences in wages. She has also conducted several studies aimed at understanding both social risk and protective factors for psychosocial and behavioral health outcomes in Latino youth and young adults. She has extensive training and expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methods as well in statistical data analysis. Her current research accentuates the importance of understanding the unique life stressors that place undocumented young adults at greater risk of psychosocial stressors. Together, this body of work supports the need to tailor mental health and vocational rehabilitation services to effectively engage and retain underserved minority populations in services. Dr. Torres Stone has been a co-investigator on numerous grant-funded projects from Universities, the states of Massachusetts and Nebraska, as well as the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Read more about Dr. Torres Stone here

In the News
Honor our Ve terans on November 11. 

It's been reported that as many as  20% of returning Veterans suffer from mental  health conditions. SPARC researchers are looking  at ways to improve Veteran participation in necessary mental health services.

Marsha Langer Ellison, Ph.D., a SPARC researcher and Deputy Director of the Learning and Working Transitions RTC, is the Principal Investigator of a pilot project to that looks to improve the academic standing and community re-integration of student Veterans with untreated  mental health conditions. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD are prevalent in many returning Veterans. However, many of these Veterans do not present themselves for mental health treatment or rehabilitation, often because of the significant stigma attached to having mental health problems. Failures and delays in entering needed treatment result in clinical and personal losses that lead to negative impacts on community integration and the eventual need for more intensive rehabilitation. Dr. Ellison's project, Promoting the Reintegration of Post 9/11 Student Veterans by Enhancing Academic Performance and Treatment Engagement, examines the academic needs of student Veterans who are at risk of loss of academic status or drop-out. Project's goals are to manualize and test practices that address barriers to help-seeking among student Veterans. Learn more about this study here.
Learn more about SPARC's Rehabilitation & Recovery program and our Transition-age Youth program.