Mental health and mental illness are often discussed at Harvard in an abstract, academic way, or only discussed in moments of crisis. In addition, you often will only hear information about Harvard mental heath services at freshman orientation, information that is quickly forgotten after classes are underway. Please use this article as a tool of reference when talking to friends and/or loved ones is not enough, if you just need to let off some steam, or if one of your friends needs help.
Although people often bad-talk Harvard’s mental health services, the sheer number of places to turn for help with mental illness gives you a fair amont of choice. If you don’t like one, you can always try another. Odds are, you will find a group or place that suits your needs.
University Health Services (UHS): Since psychiatric disorders and mental illness are indeed disorders of the brain (not simply “character flaws” or “behavioral problems”), the most basic resource would be UHS. You can see a psychiatrist, prescribing physician or nurse as many times as need be. However, there are a limited number of visits for psychotherapy and counseling, so if you will need long-term counseling, you may need to turn somewhere else for support. If you call to set up an appointment, you may get a date weeks from then. If you want to see someone sooner, stop by the mental health services (located on the 4th floor of UHS) and sign up for the drop-in urgent care, and you should be guaranteed a spot for that day.
Phone (Monday thru Friday ): 617-495-5711
Mental health phone (same as above): 617-495-2042
After hours/urgent care (after everyday, all weekend): 617-495-5711
Alcohol and Other Drug Services (AODS): This department is new and its team is still finding their niche. However, they are a great resource if you have a substance abuse problem or know someone who does. In addition, AODS enforces the unwritten rule that if you or someone you know is sick due to substance abuse, you will not get in trouble by seeking medical attention at UHS. If you stop by AODS, make sure to grab some free pens, chapstick, and maybe even a Nalgene bottle in abundance at the office. The Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisers in your dorm will also have educational materials available.
24-hour line: 617-495-5711
Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC): The BSC is a multi-purpose resource that provides tutoring services in additon to counseling services. The BSC is probably the most welcoming and informal places you can go to get mental health care. While you aren’t getting official medical attention, counselors at the BSC can be good for bouncing off ideas, pointing you in the right direction, and being there for you with empathy and the occasional snacks of apple juice and chocolate chip cookies. You can call the phone number provided to make an appointment, and the BSC can usually get you an appointment in the next week or two.
Mental Health Awareness and Advocacy Group (MHAAG): This student-run outreach group holds regular meetings and events that serve multiple purposes, including education, support, awareness and advocacy. While it’s a small group, MHAAG hosts interesting events ranging from weekly “safe space” discussion groups to having psychiatrist Kay Redfield Jamison speak at Emerson Hall. E-mail email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com to join the mailing list. MHAAG is continuing its launch of two programs: the Mental Health Liaisons and the Mental Health Mentors. The Liaisons provide education to the houses and host related events, while Mentors provide one-on-one, ongoing student support. Please contact Eunice Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the Mental Health Liason Program, and contact email@example.com for more information about the Mental Health Mentors Program.
Peer Counseling Groups: There are several different groups.
*Room 13 (617-495-4969) – Located in Grays basement, the office is open every night fom for students to receive counseling and information about Harvard procedures, roommate difficulties, alcohol, and other concerns.
*Peer Contraceptive Couselors (617-495-7561) – The PCC is a group of dedicated undergraduate men and women trained to answer basic questions about contraception, including information about regnancy, sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and how to access care at HUHS. The office is located near the after-hours urgent care clinic in UHS, and its drop-in hours are on Sunday thru Thursday from to .
*Response (617-495-9600) – Response is a peer counseling organization staffed by women undergraduates to respond to issues of rape, acquaintance rape, sexual harassment, and relationship violence. The staff has been trained to provide confidential counseling and information on issues of rape, incest, abuse, and harassment, both psychological and physical. Their office is located in
* Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach – (617-495-8200): Commonly referred to as ECHO, this group was formed to address issues related to eating disorders at Harvard. ECHO offers confidential peer counseling services at its office in F Basement of Quincy House from to , Sunday through Thursday. The hotline is staffed every night from to .
* Contact (617-495-8111) – Contact is a group of undergraduate peer counselors providing confidential support, counseling, and education on issues of sexual orientation. The undergraduate men and women who staff Contact have experience with coming out and being out issues and know a great deal about pertinent resources in the Harvard community. Contact is located in the basement of Thayer Hall. Hotline and drop-in hours are Thursday, Friday, and Sunday; from to 1 am.
*InCommon (617-384-TALK) – InCommon is a group of graduate and professional school students trained to offer confidential support and counseling to peers regarding such issues as relationship concerns, academic difficulties, and stress. The hotline hours are Sunday through Thursday, -.
Sexual Assault Prevention & Response: Established in 2003, this office was created to provide a safe space where victims of sexual assault can receive counseling and other forms of support confidentially. It has an abundance of on- and off-campus resources and information on sexual assualt available to students, and is accessible by phone 24 hours a day.
Office hours: (Monday thru Friday)
Accessible Education Office: This office is dedicated to making sure students with mental, physical, and physiological disablities receive proper accommodations and maximum access to housing, recreation, and above all, education.
Harvard University Police Department: If nothing else, HUPD can bring you or friends to UHS or to an emergency room if you’re unable to, and you will get a quciker response than if you dial 911. If you live on the Yard, you can call them if you are ever locked out of your dorm.
Phone (for emergencies or lockouts): 617-495-1212; (business line): 617-495-1215