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Confidentiality

Integrated Health Services Shared Record:  Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) is part of RIT Wellness Integrated Health Services (IHS), made up of Case Management (CM), CaPS, and the Student Health Center (SHC).  IHS believes student care is enriched when different health professionals share information openly and collaborate as a service team when needed.  Professionals in all IHS departments can view documentation of services a student receives; however, professionals adhere to strict guidelines on appropriate accessing of records, for treatment and training purposes only.  Students with concerns about this should speak to their therapist about options to restrict access to their record.

Confidentiality:  Information shared in CaPS is considered protected, confidential information.  Exceptions to confidentiality (although rare) are noted below.  The information in your counseling record is stored electronically and remains separate from your academic record, in accordance with RIT information security standards, applicable laws and ethical standards. Your written permission is needed to share your counseling record with anyone outside IHS.  All requests for information from institutions such as the military, FBI, Peace Corps, graduate schools, employers, etc., are processed by IHS Directors with your written consent for the release of any information.  Exceptions to confidentiality are outlined below – please share any questions or concerns that you have about any of the following statements with your therapist. 

Exceptions to Confidentiality:

  • Students under the age of 18 may be required to involve a parent/guardian in their treatment, which may involve obtaining consent and/or sharing information, as guided by New York State laws regarding the provision of health care to minors.
  • CaPS staff may consult confidentially with other IHS staff or trainees for the purposes of delivering the best possible care and/or for training purposes.
  • Information may be shared with other providers or individuals, as needed, in a medical emergency to facilitate appropriate treatment.
  • CaPS staff may disclose necessary information to relevant RIT faculty/staff or outside parties in situations where there is a known threat to your safety or the safety of others within and/or outside of the RIT community.
  • CaPS staff have a legal duty to take action to prevent harm if there is evidence of imminent risk of hurting yourself, hurting other(s), or you or others may be in danger of imminent harm.  Necessary information must be divulged to someone who is capable of taking action to reduce the threat.
  • CaPS staff who know or suspect physical or sexual abuse or neglect of a child, elderly person, or disabled person must report the information, according to NYS mental health law.
  • The New York State Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act requires mental health professionals to report to the County Mental Health Office individuals who, in their professional judgment, are likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.
  • CaPS staff must comply with court orders issued by a judge to release counseling records and/or information held within them.   

Minors Seeking Services:  Students under the age of 18 may be required to involve a parent/guardian in their treatment, which may involve obtaining consent and/or sharing information, as guided by New York State laws regarding the delivery of health care to minors.  Students under the age of 18 who seek services at CaPS can expect to have a conversation with their therapist about possible parental involvement.   

Parent/Guardian Communication:  The use of CaPS services is protected information, along with the specific content of the sessions. However, there are times when parent(s)/guardian(s) communicate with CaPS asking for information and/or wanting to share information about students.  In such cases, CaPS will accept communications from parent(s)/guardian(s) to receive information, and parent(s)/guardian(s) are told in these cases that the content of the information shared will be stored in a student’s record and shared with the student in the event that the student is utilizing services.  When parent/guardian communications are made, students will be informed.

Emergency Response: If CaPS staff believe you are experiencing a mental health emergency, defined as a situation where your safety or the safety of someone else is at immediate risk and you are unable to access emergency resources, CaPS staff will work with you to determine the safest way to connect you with local emergency supports. This may include contacting your emergency contacts or local mental health emergency resources. In rare circumstances, and only when necessary to protect the imminent safety of you or others, this may also involve contacting emergency medical services (EMS). As much as possible, in these rare instances, your counselor will work to support you through any 911 involvement. Additionally, if CaPS staff are concerned about you, or if we lose contact with you, or if you fail to show up to a scheduled appointment, it is possible that we will attempt to contact you by phone to check on your well-being.  If contact is not made with you, there may be times (when we are concerned about your safety or the safety of someone else) when we would contact others (e.g., your emergency contact, Residence Life, Public Safety, emergency resources in the Rochester area).