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Visits to Phsychiatrist Decreased During April Strike at Harvard


Visits to the University Health Services (UHS) Psychiatric Service dropped sharply last April the month of the occupation of University Hall.

Three were 29.7 percent fewer psychiatric interviews at the UHS last April than in April, 1968. For the entire academic year 1968-69 there were 18.2 percent fewer psychiatric visits than in 1967-68. The fact that the psychiatric staff had two fewer psychiatrists last year can explain this yearly change, but not the larger April decreased.

Explaining April's Shrinkage

Douglas H. Powell, psychologist to the UHS, said yesterday that at least part of the April decrease can be attributed to the strike which followed the occupation. "Bettelheim has a theory that fewer people see psychiatrists during wartime because they're much busier," he said.

Both Columbia and Berkeley experienced sharp decreases in student visits to school psychiatric services during their periods of turmoil, according to Dr. Graham B. Blaine Jr. 40, chief of the psychiatric service.

In 1967-68, 14 percent of Harvard students and 18.8 percent of Radcliffe students had psychiatric interviews at UHS. Last year these figures dropped to 12.5 and 15 percent. The largest group to visit the psychiatric service last year, according to Blaine, were Radcliffe sophomores.

All Kinds of Problems

Thirty-five percent of students who see UHS psychiatrists, Blaine said, go because of academic problems. Another 35 percent, according to Blaine, go because of problems with relationships-especial with roommates and girl or boyfriends-and 16 percent because of sexual problems-like homosexuality, frigidity, and importance.

The two weeks before the January and May exams are always among the heaviest periods for psychiatric interviews, Blaine said.

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