The College of New Jersey

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Privacy and Confidentiality

Privacy and confidentiality is very important to us at Mental Health Services (MHS).  In fact, it is the foundation of the counseling relationship.  We understand that counseling is most effective when students can be open and honest about their concerns – and in order to do that students need a safe place to talk about their feelings and the various circumstances impacting them.

We want you to feel comfortable at MHS and to trust that we will safeguard the privacy and security of your healthcare information. We reinforce this fundamental commitment to confidentiality through management/staff training and educational programs. Every MHS staff member signs a confidentiality agreement, which legally binds them to maintain all matters as strictly confidential. Federal and State confidentiality practices maintain strict security controls over patient health information.

In general everything you say will be kept confidential at Mental Health Services. MHS staff members have a legal and ethical obligation to protect your privacy. However, there are several exceptions to the general rule of confidentiality. We would be required to release information and possibly contact appropriate people if:
• we believed you were a serious threat to either yourself or someone else
• we learned information which led us to believe that someone under the age of 18 was being abused
• we received a valid court order to release the information.

In order to facilitate your counseling, there are several other ways in which information about you might be shared with others. First, if you are seeing one of our graduate student therapists, all their sessions are supervised by a senior staff member. This means in most cases that sessions must be audio or video taped, though this requirement can always be discussed with the counselor. Second, any member of the staff might consult with one or more other staff members within Mental Health Services (preserving your anonymity as much as possible) in order to better understand you and figure out the best way to be helpful and to coordinate treatment. If you also see another professional, such as a community provider or a previous therapist, we will ask your permission to get in touch with them in order to coordinate the care you are receiving from us.

Mental Health Services adheres to the American Psychological Association’s Guidelines for privacy and confidentiality.

If you have any concerns or questions about privacy and confidentiality at MHS, please speak to your counselor or contact any of the professional staff members.