Harvard is set to launch a campus-wide mental health awareness campaign, along with a slate of new wellness resources, the University announced Thursday.
The new initiatives are spearheaded by the Implementation Committee on Student Mental Health, led by Provost Alan M. Garber ’76. The committee is charged with implementing the recommendations made by Harvard's Task Force on Managing Student Mental Health, a group convened by Garber in 2019 to analyze the state of student wellbeing at Harvard.
“Strong mental self-care is essential to the long-term success we hope for all our students,” the task force wrote in its 2020 final report.
The new mental health awareness campaign, which was among the recommendations produced by the task force, will be called “We’re All Human.” University administrators wrote in an email Thursday that the school has also developed a virtual learning module, which offers information on “self-care management skills, opportunities to engage in wellness activities, support services offered by the University” and other guidance.
“Across the University, we are committed to changing culture when it comes to our wellbeing and mental health,” Dean of Students Katherine G. O’Dair wrote in an email announcing the initiatives to College affiliates. “Harvard should be, and can be, a community that embraces prioritizing wellbeing and eliminates existing stigmas around mental health and seeking care.”
The online learning module marks the first step in kickstarting the University’s campaign.
Students from all of the University’s schools will have access to the module throughout their time at Harvard and can complete the course multiple times. Students are not required to complete the module, but it is recommended.
The “We’re All Human” campaign was developed with input from both undergraduate and graduate students, alongside faculty and staff, O’Dair wrote in her email.
“The Dean of Students Office and many offices within the College and University look forward to working with you and every member of our community to change the culture around wellbeing and mental health,” she wrote.
The University also plans to make wellbeing and mental health resources more accessible by increasing the capacity of its Counseling and Mental Health Service. In March, wait times for new patients to receive an appointment with CAMHS reached roughly six weeks, per Chief of CAMHS Barbara Lewis.
“Intellectual growth and academic achievement should not come at the expense of wellbeing,” the “We’re All Human” campaign website said. “Together, we can create a culture at Harvard that embraces the importance of mental health and wellbeing.”
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