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June 30, 1969

New Concept in University Community Mental Health Services

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1969;208(13):2453-2456. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160130037009

A group of medical students under faculty supervision has developed an experimental advisory service to assist troubled college students who are reluctant to seek formal psychiatric care because of fears of its "stigma," suspicion of university administration, and/or a belief that older professional personnel cannot understand the problems of their generation. A medical student advisor has unique positive attributes of clinical training and experience, yet is of peer age. Walk-in centers ("Talking Points"), located at strategic areas on campus, are manned during key hours. Complete anonymity of contacts is guaranteed. Psychiatric staff members hold regular supervisory sessions to review cases. In the first 14 weeks of operation, 71 clients (1% of the undergraduate population) were seen. Problems have included depression, social maladjustment, incipient psychosis, fear of pregnancy, and suicidal attempts. Clients requiring professional care are referred.