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University Health Services Expands Let’s Talk Program

CAMHS Chief Barbara Lewis.
CAMHS Chief Barbara Lewis. By Amy Y. Li
By Ahab Chopra and Ashley M. Cooper, Crimson Staff Writers

Following a fall semester launch, Harvard University Health Services is expanding “Let’s Talk,” a drop-in program that enables students to speak with a Counseling and Mental Health Services counselor without scheduling an appointment.

The expansion was announced in an email to Harvard affiliates by Dr. Paul J. Barreira, director of Harvard University Health Services, and CAMHS Chief Barbara Lewis on Tuesday.

The Let’s Talk program launched in fall of 2017. During that semester, the program was limited in location to a few campus buildings in Cambridge and Longwood. HUHS has now instituted the program in Dudley House, Lyman Laboratory, Littauer Hall and Cabot Library among other campus spaces.

As of last week, the Let’s Talk Program is collectively available five days a week, according to Lewis.

“The clinicians are available for 15 or 20 minute chats about anything from ‘I just want to get input from someone other than my friends, an advisor, or a professor’” Lewis said. “It’s a non-clinical encounter. We don’t write a note, it can be anonymous.”

The impetus for Let’s Talk was sparked by an overburdening of CAMHS counselors, according to Lewis. Since its launch campus-wide, there has been a steady increase in students utilizing Let’s Talk.

“Throughout the spring term, CAMHS increased the number of Let’s Talk locations, providing opportunities for students to visit a location Monday through Friday,” Barreira and Lewis wrote.

Although the statement announcing the expansion was emailed to all College students, Lewis said she anticipates a challenge in garnering public awareness of the resource. She said her goal is for more students to know about and take advantage of the program.

“Our hope in the fall is that when new students are coming and students are coming back we can really advertise that as a way or a first stop or for students who don’t want to come to counseling and would rather do something more informal” Lewis said.

In the future, CAMHS is interested in expanding the hours of Let’s Talk, but Lewis said doing so, amidst Smith Campus Center renovations and changing locations of CAHMS services, is a difficult process.

—Staff writer Ahab Chopra can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ahab_chopra

—Staff writer Ashley M. Cooper can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ashleymcooper_

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