In Agreement With Hyman

Letter to the Editors

To the editors:

I would like to correct an erroneous attribution to me in Friday’s Crimson (News, “Navigating the Caregivers,” Jan. 16). I did not, as stated there, “disagree[s] with [Provost] Hyman,” as the interviewer did not inform me of the Provost’s perspective or apprise me of his remarks with which I could either agree or disagree. In fact, the provost and I are in broad agreement, including sharing the goal of providing the best-available treatments of mental disorders and the most appropriate services to address students’ particular concerns and difficulties. I appreciate his recognition of the high level of student satisfaction with the Bureau. And I share his respectful and responsive attitude toward students, reflected in his sensitivity to the dilemma of referring them to other services in such a way that they do not feel rejected.

The Bureau does offer a broad range of academic and psychological services, as it has for its entire near 60 year history. But students who have serious mental illness or have been under psychiatric care for a clinical condition prior to coming to Harvard should receive psychiatric services at the University Health Services Mental Health Service (MHS). My remark about “one-stop shopping” for most students should not be misconstrued as contradicting that viewpoint. Students may simultaneously avail themselves of different services at the Bureau and MHS, which share a collegial and collaborative relationship and regularly refer students to each other as appropriate.

I am also in complete agreement with the quoted desire of Dr. Paul Barreira, chair of the Mental Health Task Force, to “keep the Bureau of Study Counsel focused on its role as one portal of entry for students to get help, but also to be able to use all the mental health services that are available to provide treatment.” The Bureau awaits the full report and recommendations of the Task Force as to how best to accomplish this goal.


Jan. 20, 2004

The writer is director of the Bureau of Study Counsel.

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