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.

  • Help Your Patients with Insurance Coverage for Mental Health Treatment

    Austen Riggs Center’s Dr. Eric M. Plakun collaborates with Kennedy Forum Illinois and other experts to provide template to help patients with insurance coverage. 

  • 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media

    The Austen Riggs Center is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media: Executive Producers/Directors Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin for their documentary Orchestrating Change, a film about Me2/Orchestra the world’s only orchestra created by and for people living with mental illness and those who support them. 

  • On February 28, 2019, Judge Joseph Spero of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued the findings of fact and conclusions of law in Wit v United Behavioral Health (UBH), a class action brought against the country’s largest behavioral health insurer. On November 3, 2020, Judge Spero issue a ruling related to the remedy phase of this case. Based on his knowledge and experience, Austen Riggs Center Medical Director/CEO Eric M. Plakun, MD, served as plaintiffs’ expert on adult mental disorders for this case. Dr. Plakun is an authority on access to care, implementation of mental health parity, and other advocacy issues.  

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

    In November of 2016, Dr. Eric M. Plakun’s first piece as psychotherapy columnist for the Journal of Psychiatric Practice was published. You can read this piece and his more recent columns here.

  • Cheryl Fromularo - social work intern at Austen Riggs.

    Education and training for mental health professionals is part of the lifeblood of the Austen Riggs Center and its Erikson Institute. We offer myriad opportunities for mental health professionals of all guilds and in spite of the necessary COVID-19 precautions Riggs needed to take to keep patients and staff safe, this spring we marked an important education milestone: our two social work interns–first-year Master's students at Smith College School for Social Work Frances Parrish and Cheryl Fromularo–successfully completed their field internships in person with us. Field internships are a hallmark of MSW education and while the pandemic necessitated many adjustments to more remote formats, Riggs is proud to have been able to offer a safe in-person internship experience at a time when few were available. 

  • Mental Health Awareness

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity for all of us to reflect on, learn more about, and speak out about issues related to mental health.   

    At Austen Riggs, our mission is to promote resilience and self-direction in those with complex psychiatric problems -- to help people take charge of their lives. In parallel, the Erikson Institute of the Austen Riggs Center seeks to provide clinicians, educators, researchers, and scholars with opportunities for a complex conversation about how to understand and respond to the problems faced by individuals, groups, and society. 

  • Riggs Trustee and Founder of Psych-Appeal, Dr. Meiram Bendat

    Founder of Psych-Appeal and Austen Riggs Center Trustee Meiram Bendat, JD, PhD, testified before Congress during the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee–Meeting the Moment: Improving Access to Behavioral and Mental Health Care–on Thursday, April 15, 2021.  

  • Read the latest news from the Austen Riggs Center.

    Read the spring 2021 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on Equitable Access to Mental Health Care, Clinical Scholarship, Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media, and Virtual Learning and Events . 

  • Catch up on all of the latest news from the Austen Riggs Center.

    Read the winter 2020/21 issue of the Austen Riggs Center’s newsletter, ARC News, featuring stories on Secrets We Dare to Speak, Clinical Scholarship & Local Community Outreach, Austen Riggs Center Virtual Tour, and Virtual Learning and Events . 

  • At the core of each patient’s work at Riggs is intensive psychotherapy.

    Far too many of us do not have access to the mental health care we need, even if we have health insurance, and especially if we are members of a minority group. Efforts to achieve true mental health parity through legislation and litigation, as well as individual and organizational advocacy, are central to addressing these health disparities and increasing access. 



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