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Stealth Mental Health

News from the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Duval-Harvey

Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey

“I had no interest in psychology until I worked at Bloomingdale’s.”

That’s an unorthodox but telling start to Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey’s career—first as an on-site clinician for East Baltimore school children, then as head administrator for the same Hopkins-linked mental health programs that include the schools. It’s telling because well before her clinical psychology studies in college, Duval-Harvey learned how effective mental health care could be outside the traditional clinic.

Working at Bloomie’s, she observed women of a certain age who “kept coming back. They’d buy and return, day after day, until it dawned on me that this was loneliness.”  Duval-Harvey’s attention to the ladies made the store somehow therapeutic.

After doctoral work at Penn State and a job heading children’s programs in a New York City hospital, she came to Hopkins, where, for the first of her decade here, she was a school-based clinician. Embedded in an elementary school, Duval-Harvey became a keen advocate for mental health services in that setting.

“There’s no stigma in getting psychological or psychiatric help in a school,” she says. “It’s not a place people are automatically identified as mentally ill. Also, you learn faster about issues children have—watching them in the classroom and the cafeteria can tell you if they’re socially and emotionally adjusted. Most of all, you’re in a position to intervene where it’s most critical. Success in school turns these kids’ lives around.”

Duval-Harvey became head of the East Baltimore umbrella program, Community-Based Services, part of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. A liaison between the Hopkins effort and the city, state and federal bodies that target kids at risk, she refined ways to extend the school clinicians’ reach. In addition to one-on-one therapy, they also do preventive work—offering schoolwide behavior management or leading small, tailored groups that take on topics like anger management or coping with addicted, parents.

“The schools work is intense; You know pretty fast if you want to keep doing it. I had no doubt.” 

Winter 2008 IndexHopkins Newsletter Archive