SMHL Senior Spotlight: Lauren Reisig

SMHL Senior Spotlight: Lauren Reisig

Lauren is a senior in Mather studying Economics and Global Health and Health Policy.  She is  originally from Massapequa Park, NY.

Why did you join SMHL?

I joined SMHL after using mental health services at the BSC.  My sophomore year, I was involved in a car accident in which a friend passed away.  After the accident, I started using mental health services to help me process the event.  It was really hard to get myself to go talk to someone because I felt the stigma of reaching out for help, even after a very public trauma.  Once I finally started using the amazing services Harvard has to offer, I realized how much it helped and wanted to make sure other students knew of the resources.  I wanted to tell students that it is ok to ask for help and make sure they knew all of the services available.

What has been your favorite SMHL event?

I think my favorite SMHL event was our house study break.  We ran a cookie baking study break in the Mather JCR, where we invited students in the house to come bake cookies or just eat them.  It was so wonderful to meet the house and see how many people really cared about mental health.  A few days later, a student approached me and asked how to help a friend and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a SMHL.  I just love that as a SMHL, students approach me to learn about resources and also to tell me stories about their own experiences using services, the good and the bad, which I can take back to the university.  As SMHLs it is our job to advocate for mental health and advocate for the specific needs of students in supporting their mental health.

And a fun fact?

 I guess my go to fun fact is that last semester I had a chance to cook for the judges of Top Chef for my SPU requirement.  


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SMHL Senior Spotlight: The Presidential Edition

SMHL Senior Spotlight: The Presidential Edition

An excerpt of Hannah and Jen's deepest darkest secrets:

HR: SMHL has made me more attuned to the little ways our community talks about and treats mental health. Being part of the group has sparked a strong academic interest in mental health for me as well—I will very likely spend a lot of time exploring various aspects of mental health over the next few years of my life, if not longer. 
JY: One of the most important things I have learned is to remember that we do not always know what is going on behind someone's smile or someone's bad attitude.  More often than not, our well-intentioned "how are you?" questions are heard as "just say 'good!'" comments. And so from SMHL, I feel that I have learned to better appreciate that people are much more than their profile pictures and to withhold first reactions from both provocative people and decisions.  
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National Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

The Harvard AAPI Community is hosting various events, ranging from discussions to study breaks, this week in honor of National Mental Health Awareness Week!

RSVP to the Facebook event for further updates!

A message from the group:

"We recognize that one week with a few events geared towards discussing mental health in the AAPI community is not enough. We recognize that many people are tired of discussions and want to see real, tangible change happen on campus and in larger society. We hope, however, that this week can become part of a larger movement towards advocating for self-love, care, and compassion in regards to mental health in the AAPI community. "

Further Details:

10/14 | Wednesday | 8-9:30PM | Kates/Tobin Community Room in Quincy House
Come join us in a Q&A + discussion with Dr. Josephine Kim, a Licensed Mental Health counselor and founding executive director of a nonprofit organization that aims to reach out to AAPI individuals on various issues, including mental health.

10/15 | Thursday | 8-9PM | Location TBA***
We'll have board games and art supplies and yummy, yummy food--take a break from your papers and p-sets and come relax with us!

10/17 | Saturday | 3-4PM | Bullitt Room in Quincy House
A representative from the UHS Wellness Center will be leading a session on meditation and self-care. De-stress with other students and take that calming, deep breath you needed. 

10/18 | Sunday | 2-4PM | Location TBA***
Come share your thoughts and experiences in regards to mental health, be it just a few words or an outpour you've held in for a long time. Dean Khurana and a few other representatives will be present to listen to our thoughts, and only to listen. This is meant to be a brave, strictly confidential space for students to come together. 


Harvard SMHL

"Dear Parent, Your Child Has Had a Psychotic Break" - An Opinion Piece

Check out this opinion piece from the New York Times! Marcia Morris, a psychiatrist at the University of Florida's Counseling and Wellness Center, speaks from the other side and details the complexities of working with students in an already stressful environment. Morris' revealing accounts poises us to start thinking about the mental health resources on our own campus, particularly CAMHS.

"Of course I will meet with him. But I am frustrated. He should be home, or in some sort of housing where daily support is provided, or in an intensive outpatient program. There should be an array of intermediate-level treatment measures after the patient leaves the hospital, for which insurance companies should provide reimbursement. Jacob needs more help than he will get as a college student living on campus. But options are limited."

You can find the full article via this link:


Harvard SMHL

9/12/15: A tragedy, and the aftermath

Luke Tang was a bright, young student of Harvard College, devoted to his faith and community. He expressed a passion for studying mathematics, physics, philosophy, literature, and religion. His unbridled optimism and enthusiasm lifted the spirits and minds of countless peers through his involvement in groups such as the Harvard Undergraduate Mathematics Association (HUMA). He lived in Lowell House. Whether we knew him intimately or merely in passing, Luke became a part of our lives. By sharing in this exciting yet stressful journey through college with us, Luke lived as any of us aspired to live: with a never-ending smile and a positive attitude. 

It was this mutual experience that made his recent death on September 12th, 2015 feel close. Too close. The student body responded in distress, reaching out for help and someone, somewhere to confide in. Many recall seeing Luke days, even hours before his passing. He was recounted to have eaten in the very same dining halls, attended the same classes, and been just as hopeful about the future. His sudden, jarring, and absolute absence from many of our lives has proven to be a sobering thought to stomach. Many took to writing eulogies on Facebook in order to pay tribute to his memory. Hundreds attended a memorial at Lowell House that very night to comfort those suffering from this tragedy. Counselors and therapists from UHS will be at Lowell House until Thursday every night to talk. From house masters to peer advisers, much of Harvard has stood in solidarity to assist the student body in enduring this dark and vulnerable time. 

At this time of writing, an entire day has passed since the news broke out.  Naturally, many are still in mourning. Some mourn what he could have been, and see his death as this world's major loss of someone with so much potential to change it for the better. Others remember him for his many words and actions that spoke loudest to them. No matter the method of coping with this news, all are undoubtedly in a state of crisis. Mortality is a harsh reality not frequently made salient to us on a daily basis. Yet when death does strike, especially at someone so close to us, it leaves many bewildered and frightened. We lapse into thinking purely in possibilities. Instead of accelerating our lives into the future, we are, for a moment, forced to stop and reevaluate what is meaningful in our lives before we return to the rhythm of everyday life. In that sense, Luke is still helping us now. Even in memory, his life and the values he stood for are still affecting us ever so powerfully. For us to take this tragedy, and use it to learn something about ourselves and the meaning that people have in our lives before moving on is, I would like to think, what Luke would have wanted. 

If you still feel affected by these recent events, you are not alone. Don't hesitate to reach out to any of your pillars of support, whether it be a friend or proctor. Other resources can be sought after in the following link:

There will be one or two counselors from Counseling and Mental Health Services at the Lowell JCR from now until Thursday 5 pm - 7pm this week. No appointment necessary. You don't have to talk for an hour and you do not have to be in crisis.

Feel free to reach out to your House SMHL's if you have any other questions as well. We want to help.

Vulnerability is not weakness but strength: the opportunity to learn and grow.


A fellow SMHL

"Dear Andy" - A piece on Mental Health

Check out this article from the Crimson written by William F. Morris who advocates for the destigmatization of mental health on campus!

"But I hope this letter to you will help change things for others. I hope it will convince someone who is like me all those years ago to find the support that they need. I hope it will encourage someone like me now—too busy with their midterms, their finals, and their papers—to check in on a friend. I hope it will encourage us as a community to fight against the stigma surrounding mental health issues both in our college and in our nation. And most of all, I am sorry that we live in a society where we could not talk openly to each other."

You can find the full article via this link:


Harvard SMHL

Resources Available

There will be a counselor or two from Counseling and Mental Health Services available at Lowell JCR from tonight (Sunday) to Thursday 5 pm - 7pm this week.  You don't even have to walk to UHS to talk to someone. You don't have to make an appointment. You don't need to talk for an hour. You don't have to be in crisis. Please take advantage of this resources as we try to get through this week. 

There will also be a meeting at the Master's Residence 7-9pm for some communal reflection. 

-Harvard SMHL

On Luke Tang, Lowell House '18

We are deeply saddened to hear the news about Luke Tang, a sophomore in Lowell House. To echo Dean Khurana's email, a sudden and unexpected tragedy is shocking and evokes strong feelings in all of us, even if we did not directly know Luke. 

Many resources are available at Harvard to help every member of this community, such as peer advisers, tutors/proctors, resident deans, house masters, and faculty. Other resources are also Harvard University Health Services (617-495-5711), as well as peer-resources such as Room 13 (617-495-4969). 

This is a very difficult time for our community. Lowell House will be opening the Master's residence at 7:00 p.m. this evening for all Harvard College community members who wish to join them.

-Harvard SMHL 

"7 Thoughts From a Chronically Unhappy Person" - NYTimes

A powerful op-ed on the New York Times.

I don’t wallow in my pain; I fear it. When I sense it coming, I try to prevent it: I once broke up with a man because I suspected he was about to break up with me. I once got sick after eating pizza and wouldn’t eat pizza for a year. If I need to cry, I often reach for the phone — it’s less painful to cry to someone who loves me than it is to cry by myself. I’m overdue to cut my benzo (I’ve been reducing a little bit every two weeks), but I keep putting it off. One more day. One more day.

Full article can be found here

On Social Anxiety

Check out this article on The Harvard Crimson, written by Ted G. Waechter. 

"I’m just scared. I’m scared because I don’t know if I know how to dance and because I don’t want to get drunk and look stupid. (And I definitely don’t want to be sober and look stupid.) I’m scared because I really do have an essay that’s due soon, and because I’m probably going to hurt my joints with all this knee bobbing. I’m scared that everyone knows I’m scared. I’m scared because I don’t want to do the wrong thing, and I don’t know how to release my anxiety for even an hour."

Full link can be found here:

-Your SMHLs

Hello world!

Hello world! 

We just wanted to start off this blogpost by welcoming you to the new SMHL website. We are very excited to launch a new version of the website, and are especially excited to have a blog platform, where we can continue discussing mental health around the campus and the world. 

On here, members of SMHL will be posting short pieces about anything they feel compelled to do so (i.e. current events, on-going issues, and so forth) and sharing interesting articles, so please be on the look out! 

If you have any questions, suggestions, or anything in that nature, please feel free to get in touch with us.