Caring for the Mind

Harvard's multi-faceted mental health outreach brings vital information to Houses

It is easy to see how Harvard students could take mental health issues for granted. Mental health issues aren't like homelessness, which we see every day--it is difficult to miss the people selling the Spare Change newspaper. But as bright, busy creative people, it is easy for Harvard students to think of themselves as capable, self-sufficient individuals. Because we're in this environment, we tend to believe that we don't have to worry about mental health.

Last week's Care for the Harvard Community kickoff program was intended to reach those who are suffering in silence. As a high-profile outreach of a wide range of student-led and professional Harvard mental-health groups that hosted discussion sessions in each House, the Care program demonstrated an effort to take the difficult step of starting the discussion about mental health for Harvard's students, Faculty and staff, from janitors to professors. We urge students to continue the dialogue on mental health, for themselves and those they care about in this community.

The program was a response to a provost-commissioned report last year that found students critical of the mental-health care options available to them. Richard D. Kadison, chief executive of University Health Services (UHS) Mental Health Services, said the program was part of an overall effort to "improve access and outreach, de-stigmatize mental health services and create constructive dialogue with the University community."

We commend the groups from University Hall, UHS, Bureau of Study Counsel and the student body that made these events possible and hope that students participate in the ongoing program to mold the mental health resources to match the needs of Harvard students. Mental health is a vital issue for each Harvard student; hopefully these events will make getting help that much easier.