With one day to go until administrators and representatives of University Health Services sit down at Thursday's much-anticipated "Mental Health Town Hall," students are refining, submitting, and voting on questions that aim to demystify Harvard's mental health resources and procedures.
The Undergraduate Council-sponsored event—which features a panel of guests, including representatives of the AdBoard, Harvard Mental Health Services, the Financial Aid Office, the Office of Student Life, and Student Mental Health Liaisons—will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday in Emerson 105.
According to Paul J. Barreira, director of University Health Services, the panel will be moderated by a neutral facilitator, and though there may be some matters of fact presented at the event, the majority of time will be devoted to open question and response.
Questions already submitted via a UC-promoted Google Doc touch on a wide-range of mental health issues, from the availability of self-help books to the scope of confidentiality between students, UHS, and the administration.
Here, in order, are the top five questions as of Wednesday afternoon:
1. How does Harvard plan to improve the system for student advocates during the AdBoard process in light of recent academic and health concerns?
2. What rights and limits of confidentiality exist between the student and UHS, tutors and residential staff, and the Ad Board? How can we increase transparency?
3. Would the university consider subsidizing mental health costs for those on a leave of absence who met full-financial aid requirements? Extending our student plans currently costs >$1000, which may be significant burden starting off on leave.
4. The system at Harvard works with the extremes, meaning healthy students thrive & students about to commit suicide can be seen overnight. How does Harvard plan to address the middle - so students aren't forced to get worse before they can get better?
5. Will Harvard commit to abolishing the de facto policy of persuading students to take leave of absence, except where medically necessary?"
Check TheCrimson.com for updates.