UC Consolidates Mental Health Info

HarvardHelp.com most recent UC development on mental health

The Undergraduate Council went live Monday with HarvardHelp.com, a Web site intended to provide undergraduates consolidated access to mental health resources on campus.

The site, which includes contact information for campus help organizations like Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach (ECHO) and Room 13, was originally proposed in April as a part of the UC’s platform for “Mental Health Awareness Month.”

Rebecca L. Eshbaugh ’07, co-director of the Room 13 counseling center, credited the new Web site with doing the legwork that previously hindered students’ ability to find available resources tailored to their needs.

“I can definitely imagine how it would be difficult to find the right resources if you didn’t know what you were looking for,” she said. “So I definitely appreciate their effort to make it as easy and accessible to students as possible.”

Initial plans called for the Web site to be created and administered by the Office of the Provost. But the UC decided to go forward with the initiative on its own after encountering difficulties in arranging a time to meet with administrators, said UC President Ryan A. Petersen ’08.

Provost Steven E. Hyman could not be reached for comment late yesterday evening.

UC representatives met yesterday with Associate Provost Doreen Koretz and Paul Barreira of University Health Services, according to UC Representative Benjamin P. Schwartz ’10, who served as a co-sponsor of the original legislation advocating for the site.

This year has not been the first time that the UC has turned its sights toward the improvement of mental health services on campus. The issue was a subject of UC discussion during the 2004-2005 academic year, when Matthew W. Mahan ’05 was president.

Mahan, who included mental health as a priority when he was inaugurated in 2004, wrote yesterday in an e-mail that he believed the UC’s new Web site would be helpful to students.

“[The site] is useful if for no other reason than the address is easy to remember and some students have no idea where to start when seeking health-realted help,” Mahan wrote. “Bottom-line: it will get some use, and any use is a benefit to the campus.”

The actual construction of HarvardHelp.com was undertaken by Lief E. Fenno ’07, who created fixtheuc.com and itsaboutstudents.com, the campaign Web sites of the last two UC presidential tickets.

According to Fenno, his latest project was fairly easy to complete.

“The whole project took about 20 minutes to complete,” Fenno said. “I put it together mostly during commercials for the week’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ ”

—Staff writer Christian B. Flow can be reached at cflow@fas.harvard.edu.