Campus & Community

Director of mental health services named

3 min read

HMS’s Barreira will take helm

Paul Barreira, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chair of the Student Mental Health Task Force, is the new director of University Counseling, Academic Support, and Mental Health Services at Harvard University, announced David Rosenthal, director of Harvard University Health Services (UHS). In this position, created on the recommendation of the Student Mental Health Task Force to facilitate a seamless administrative structure for mental health care at the University, Barreira will oversee services delivered by the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC) and all clinical sites at UHS.

“The entire University will no doubt benefit from Paul’s extensive leadership and mental health system management experience both at Harvard and in the community at large,” says Rosenthal. “Through his work with the task force, as well as in his clinical practice, Paul has demonstrated his skill and passion for working with and listening to students.”

“Paul is a tremendously thoughtful leader and a committed and caring physician,” says Provost Steven E. Hyman. “He exemplifies the attributes of empathy and organizational skill that this role will require. President Summers and I consider Harvard very fortunate to have him.”

“I am delighted that Paul Barreira will be joining us as director of University Counseling, Academic Support, and Mental Health Services. Our students face myriad stresses and pressures at college, and this new position and structure will help us support them with the best possible mental health care,” adds Dean of the College Benedict Gross.

The Student Mental Health Task Force, convened in December 2003 by Hyman and Gross, was charged with developing a plan for implementing the recommendations of the Provost’s Committee on Student Mental Health Services and the University Health Services peer-review Patient Care Assessment Committee. Specifically, the group of clinicians, students, and faculty was asked to create a plan that improved outreach so as to encourage students to seek help without fear of being stigmatized; that integrated and enhanced clinical treatment services under UHS; that refocused counseling and academic support services at the Bureau of Study Counsel; and expanded education of residential life staff.

“I am honored and excited to accept this opportunity to serve the mental health and counseling needs of the entire University, particularly its outstanding undergraduate and graduate students,” said Barreira, who notes that this position is the latest step in a multiyear effort to improve mental health services at Harvard. “I look forward to working with the talented, dedicated counselors and clinicians at UHS and the Bureau of Study Counsel in promoting the mental and emotional wellness of the Harvard community.”

Barreira has a long history of affiliation with Harvard and its teaching hospitals. He is currently lecturing at McLean Hospital, where he also serves as chief of Community Clinical Services and director of Medical Education, as well as program director at Waverly Place.

A graduate of Georgetown University Medical School, Barreira serves as the chair of the Legislative Committee for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society and board member of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health.

Barreira will assume the position of director of University Counseling, Academic Support, and Mental Health Services effective July 1, 2004.