After the activities and academics, the long nights spent studying in Sterling or partying at Beta, or even before and during all that, many Yalies find themselves overworked and overtired. Roommates bring new germs and college classes bring new stresses. Yale offers all undergraduates a monolith of mental and physical care known officially as University Health Services (UHS). But among students, it is persistently referred to by the slack-jawed acronym of old: DUH (for Department of Undergraduate Health, as it was called until 1981).
Regardless of your health care coverage (whether you purchase the University plan or keep your parents’ coverage), UHS covers all Yalies for primary services. To cut through the jargon: this means if you get sick and need to see a doctor, if you drink too much and need to spend the night, or if you need to see a therapist for whatever reason, all you have to do is flash the receptionist the smiling passport photo on your Yale ID and take a seat in the waiting room.
Physical health care
UHS sits halfway up Hillhouse Avenue, a squat, square building in the middle of old mansions that now house academic departments, the School of Management and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The first floor is a single sprawling waiting area filled usually with emergency cases, students and locals in line for prescriptions, and Yale medical students running around in scrubs. Welcome to Urgent Care — open 24 hours, seven days a week, it is the ground-floor gateway to the University-provided health care services.
There are people here to set broken bones, surgeons on call to cover major emergencies, and doctors and interns around to pump Yalie stomachs after big nights on the town. The fifth floor is home to a 23-bed inpatient care facility, which, according to UHS pamphlets, provides “acute, short term care for many medical conditions as well as post-operative care.” Most of the Yalies who know this room know it only until 8 a.m. after one of those big nights. And all also know Marie Baker, with whom they attend mandatory alcohol counseling sessions after three such binges.
The treatment for drugs or alcohol, as well as any provided in urgent care and on the third floor (which handles student medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology) is completely confidential, so your parents, your dean and master, even your regular doctor won’t find out. Unlike many other universities, Yale operates on a don’t-ask-don’t-tell drugs and alcohol policy. Freshman counselors aren’t there to bust you for drinking, and there’s no reprimand for going to the hospital if you feel you need help, whether for an emergency or in the long term.
Mental health care
Yale’s free mental health services rest on the third floor of UHS under the tidy heading “Mental Hygiene.” According to chief psychiatrist Lorraine Siggins, Mental Hygiene sees between 18 and 20 percent of all Yale students each year for drug and alcohol abuse concerns, eating disorders, depression and a host of other conditions of varying severity. Students are generally limited to one semester of one-on-one counselling session, but Mental Hygiene provides a handful of group sessions for those interested.
A decade-long trend has seen the number of students in the Ivy League and beyond seeking health care in considerably higher numbers than ever before. Beyond Mental Hygiene, Yale students have sought treatment with private counselors or in centers devoted to one particular type of treatment. There are also many specialized, student-run hotlines geared towards one particular mental health concern.
— Yale Daily News