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Yale Mental Health and Counseling Director Paul Hoffman announced in an early November email that MHC has expanded beyond the Yale Health building to a space on 205 Whitney Ave.  

In his email, Hoffman wrote that the University has provided MHC with a new temporary space that contains 12 clinician offices and a large room that can be used for group therapy. Eight clinicians will temporarily relocate to the new building. The building opened on Nov. 1 and the first in-person session occurred on Nov. 10. This announcement comes after Hoffman told the News that MHC has seen a record number of students this year. 

“I believe that this expansion is the first step towards improving mental health at Yale,” Gabriella Gutierrez ’23, co-director of Yale Student Mental Health Association, wrote to the News. “Although these steps aren’t the immediate solution towards improving mental health on our campus, they will lay the foundation for future initiatives and hopefully, cause a decrease in the stigmatization of mental health issues.” 

Hoffman explained that the satellite clinic was added to accommodate growth in the staff of MHC. This year, MHC added six full-time staff members. According to Hoffman, the new clinic has two waiting rooms, a reception space, a group therapy room and room for 10-12 clinicians. 

Hoffman added that the expansion was also necessary as the MHC is now allowing students to participate in individual therapy and group therapy simultaneously, whereas previously students needed to choose one or the other. MHC also increased its availability of walk-in intake hours at the start of the semester when demand was at its peak. 

“We are grateful to be able to get a sizable space that allows for a large group of clinicians to be in the same clinic,” Hoffman wrote to the News. “While this space will be temporary while we explore longer-term options, we are excited to be able to expand now to meet the demand increases we are experiencing.” 

Hoffman wrote that the eight clinicians were relocated from the Yale Health building at 55 Lock St. to the new Whitney Avenue center. MHC chose to relocate clinicians with several years of experience at MHC in order to keep newer staff at the Yale Health location.

MHC clinical psychologist Debra Gregory is one of the clinicians who moved to the new location. She wrote to the News that the new building has been comfortable, and she thinks students will enjoy the space because of its large offices with large windows. However, Gregory noted that the new space feels less connected to Yale Health. 

Before the expansion, Gregory added, the lack of room at Yale Health forced MHC clinicians to adapt their daily routines as they returned to in-person appointments.

“Because many of us continued to work from home during the early part of the semester, space was less of an issue,” Gregory wrote to the News. “As we began to return to the office, several of the clinicians were having to share offices and rotate days. Now clinicians are able to have their own office. This will make it easier to begin to do more in-person sessions.” 

CEO of Yale Health Paul Genecin wrote to the News that the new Whitney Avenue location was chosen in collaboration with the Office of the Provost and Yale Facilities. 

However, Genecin added that this location is temporary and will not be able to accommodate the continued growth of MHC staff. 

“There are not many spaces suitable for the privacy and accessibility needs of a mental health program,” Genecin wrote to the News. “205 Whitney was the one space in proximity to the residential student community that could be modified to accommodate our program quickly.”

According to Genecin, MHC is working on finding “more enduring” solutions. The 205 Whitney Ave. site is slated for “other university purposes” in the future, he wrote. 

Gutierrez wrote that expanding resources for mental health support can help break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, which she said is important in a college environment like Yale where seeking mental health care is “such a common experience.”

“It is important for Yale to provide more spaces for individual counseling and group therapy because mental health is just as important as physical health,” Gutierrez wrote. “By providing more mental health spaces, Yale is promoting a shift towards breaking down the barriers of stigma surrounding mental health issues, which are known to hinder students from receiving the necessary mental health treatment and support.”

Hoffman also emphasized in his email that MHC provides free, confidential mental health treatment with individual therapy, group therapy and medication consultations. 

Students can reach MHC by calling (203) 432-0290 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., but should call Acute Care at (203) 432-0123 to speak to an on-call clinician for urgent concerns after hours.

SARAH COOK