Five new counselors joined the University’s Counseling and Mental Health Services this semester, bringing the total number of new counselors this year to eight.
The latest additions follow a smaller wave of hirings from last semester, when CAMHS hired three new counselors. The new counselors this year come from a variety of backgrounds and have specialties that range from cognitive behavioral therapy to biofeedback. Several of the new counselors specialize in treatment for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
These hirings come after students lobbied for more counselors of color and providers from more socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. Last year, Chief of CAMHS Barbara Lewis said that counselor hiring depends on the agency’s budget.
The counselors starting this fall include three licensed independent clinical social workers — Nick Esposito, Mojgan Ghasemian, Nicolas McQueen — and two clinical psychology interns — Catherine Teotico and Grace Waite.
Four of the eight new counselors list BGLTQ as among their “interests and expertise” in their biographies. One of the counselors wrote that she is a first-generation college student, and two wrote that they are immigrants. One of the new interns, Teotico, will help run a support group specifically for Asian international students.
CAMHS has previously come under fire for the demographics of its counseling staff, which some students say is not sufficiently diverse. Some students have said they would feel more comfortable being treated by counselors who share the same background as they do.
Harvard University Health Services has started several initiatives in recent years to address student concerns. HUHS helped create Indigo, a peer counseling group focused on issues of diversity, in 2016. Lewis and Barreira have said in previous interviews that HUHS is trying to hire more counselors with different backgrounds.
In April 2018, 13 of the 39 CAMHS staff members come from “various ethnic backgrounds,” according to an interview with Lewis at the time.
—Michelle G. Kurilla can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MichelleKurilla.