- If you go to MHS for help with a problem, you might get kicked out of school.
Not exactly sure where this myth came from, and it is a particularly troubling one as it could prevent students from seeking the help that they need. MHS has NO authority to kick anyone out of school. If a student is a clear danger to him/herself or others, MHS will arrange to get the person the treatment they need, which could include brief hospitalization or an intensive outpatient treatment program. In fact, part of the mission of MHS is to help students stay in college and be successful students by providing support and psychological resources to manage and cope with emotional and behavioral difficulties that can get in the way of academics and overall wellness.
- MHS only works with suicidal students, they don’t offer services for regular problems.
MHS does a lot more than just work with suicidal students, though we occasionally do that too. MHS offers services to all students at TCNJ, the majority of whom have difficulties with stress, anxiety, depression, relationship and family problems, and developmentally normal adjustment difficulties – to name a few. For more urgent concerns, MHS has walk-in hours every day to handle emergencies. Keeping students safe is a priority at MHS. We also offer several different groups on a variety of topics (managing mood, grief and loss, perfectionism, anxiety, food and eating concerns, family concerns etc.) as group treatment has been shown by research to frequently be the “treatment of choice” for college students.
- You have to wait a long time (at least 3 weeks) to get an appointment at MHS.
While it may have been true in the past that students have waited much longer than desired for services at MHS, that has significantly changed over the past year or so. We have recently increased the number of staff members at MHS and have reduced the wait time considerably. At present, our goal is to get back to students who fill out a request for service form within a few days of receiving the request. If brief therapy is indicated, we can usually give students an appointment within a week (slightly longer during very busy times of the year). If there is any urgency to the situation, we make every effort to bring the student in as quickly as possible – often on the same day. Meeting the increasing demand for services is an ongoing challenge at MHS to be sure, as it is at most colleges around the country. Please don’t get discouraged from seeking help when it is needed. If you experience any difficulty accessing services at MHS, please call and speak to the Assistant Director or the Director of MHS as we are working hard to provide the best services to the students of TCNJ.
- The “Request for Service” form is really long and takes forever to complete.
Yes, in fact the old form WAS quite long and difficult to complete. Good news! MHS has revised the Request for Service form during the Fall of 2014. We eliminated about 75% of the questions and streamlined the form to include only essential information required for us to make a decision about what kind of services are needed. The current Request for Service form should only take a few minutes to complete for most students.
- MHS is not really private and doesn’t maintain confidentiality.
The foundation of any therapeutic work (counseling) rests on confidentiality and privacy. At MHS, we believe very strongly in the need for a private, safe space for working through emotional and behavioral difficulties. The clinicians at MHS have all been trained to adhere to strict standards of privacy and confidentiality. In general everything you say will be kept confidential. Mental Health Services staff members have a legal and ethical obligation to protect your privacy. However, there are some 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.
These exceptions to confidentiality are in fact quite rare. Beyond these exceptions, a signed “release of information” form is required for any information to be shared with others. We reinforce this fundamental commitment to confidentiality through administrative/staff training and educational programs.
We are committed to offering all students at TCNJ the best possible mental health services we can given our resources. MHS is continually pursuing new collaborations and partnerships with departments across the college and within the surrounding community to make sure mental health services are accessible, inclusive and effective for all. We are always open to comments and suggestions for ways to improve our services.