The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog is a mix of news about clinical work, research and educational activities from the Austen Riggs Center, as well as a source for information beyond our walls that we find interesting and thought-provoking. Senior clinical experts, researchers, and editors review all clinical content on this blog before it is published.

  • Image provided by the World Federation for Mental Health.

    World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is today, Thursday, October 10, and the focus this year is suicide prevention. Organized by the World Federation for Mental Health, WMHD helps to raise global awareness about mental health topics and issues. 

    On the WMHD website, we are all invited to join in “‘40 seconds of action’ to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.”

  • Eric M. Plakun, MD is the Medical Director/CEO at the Austen Riggs Center.

    Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, outlines four tools to help maximize appeal success when insurance claims are denied.

  • Medical Office Building

    America is facing a growing crisis in mental health treatment, and one of the greatest forces to fight that crisis is raising public awareness through the media. On Friday, November 1, two outstanding works will be honored with the 2019 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media.

  • Suicide Awareness Month

    Austen Riggs Center staff members Katie Lewis, PhD, and Lee Watroba spoke on local radio programs about suicide prevention awareness. 

  • Erikson Scholars at Austen Riggs engage in interdisciplinary work that spans a broad range of psychiatric, social, cultural and theoretical issues.

    The Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, MA invites applications for the fall 2020 Erikson Scholar-in-Residence. The Erikson Institute bridges the clinical work of the Austen Riggs Center, which treats patients with complex psychiatric disorders, and the wider academic and professional communities. Erikson Scholars engage in interdisciplinary work that spans a broad range of psychiatric, social, cultural and theoretical issues.

  • Photos from the Austen Riggs Center’s Centennial Conference-The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions.

    The Austen Riggs Center welcomed more than 200 individuals to our Centennial Conference–The Mental Health Crisis in America: Recognizing Problems, Working Toward Solutions–at Tanglewood’s new Linde Center for Music and Learning.

  • The Austen Riggs Center is proposing the Four Freedoms of Mental Health, owed to all people struggling with mental illness, one of which is the Freedom to Pursue Recovery.

    One of our proposed Four Freedoms of Mental Health is the freedom to pursue recovery. 

    Recovery from mental disorders is a process that unfolds over time; the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines recovery as “a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019). Living a self-directed life is a cornerstone of recovery—and a central focus of treatment at Riggs. Given the real obstacles posed by stigma, limited clinical models to help address mental illness for many individuals, and lack of access to medically necessary treatment—especially in the tendency of many insurance entities to limit access to care to crisis stabilization—the prospect of achieving recovery can be daunting. 

  • Peter Fonagy, PhD, OBE, FMedSci, FAcSS, FBA, will give a keynote presentation at the Austen Riggs Center's centennial conference.

    Dr. Fonagy will give the Session 3 keynote presentation, “The Consequences of Losing Epistemic Trust: A Perspective from the UK on Mental Disorders that Persist and Resist Treatment,” on Sunday morning at the Austen Riggs Centennial Conference, “The Mental Health Crisis in America.”

  • The Austen Riggs Center Four Freedoms of Mental Health Award.

    Mental health care in America has radically evolved in the past decades, with an increasing emphasis on viewing people as mouths to swallow pills instead of seeking to understand the context and origin of their suffering. Pushing back against that trend, the Austen Riggs Center (Riggs) today announced the establishment of the “Four Freedoms of Mental Health Award.” The inaugural award will be presented during a special Centennial Celebration and Award Presentation evening, hosted by actor and director Sam Waterston, on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at the Linde Center for Music and Learning located at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts.

  • Carol Gilligan, PhD, will present at the Austen Riggs Center Centennial Conference - The Mental Health Crisis in America on September 21-22.

    Carol Gilligan, PhD, is an American feminist, ethicist, and psychologist; University Professor at New York University; Visiting Professor at the University of Cambridge; and author of In A Different Voice

    Dr. Gilligan will give the Session 2 keynote presentation on Saturday afternoon at the Austen Riggs Centennial Conference, “The Mental Health Crisis in America.”