Bishop Wellness Center’s Counseling Services and its providers adhere to state law governing health professions and by our professional ethics as it relates to privileged and confidential information. This confidentiality is important to us, and we imagine it's important to those considering treatment with us as well. Importantly, your medial/counseling records are not a part of your academic record.
It is only with your written consent that information can be released to a particular person(s); parent, family, friend, professors, outside doctors, etc. We cannot confirm to anyone outside of Bishop Wellness Center that a student has (or has not) been seen for a medical or counseling appointment unless we have the student's written consent to do so.
There are a few legal limitations to confidentiality (as follows), but in general, our services are strictly confidential.
If your provider has reason to believe that you present a danger to yourself or others, or learns of the ongoing abuse or neglect of a minor child, an adult (usually elderly) dependent, or a developmentally disabled person, (s)he may be legally compelled to report this information. In addition, confidentiality may not be guaranteed if your records is subpoenaed or requested by court order, or in the course of an investigation of a claim made against the provider. These exceptions to confidentiality are rare, and whenever possible the provider would discuss it with the student in advance of any actions being taken.
Please understand that "presenting a danger to self or others" refers only to cases in which a professional assesses there to be an imminent risk of suicide or homicide. It is not uncommon for students to discuss a wish for the pain to end, a wish for others to disappear, or to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting. These are taken very seriously, but we do not equate an acknowledgement of these feelings with an imminent risk of suicidal or homicidal behavior. Students needn't worry that they will forfeit their confidentiality by speaking honestly about how badly they may be feeling.
In most cases, when we are truly concerned about student safety, the student actually provides us their written consent to share this information with a few important others that may be in a position to help. At times, students request that we communicate about their condition with parents, staff, or faculty. In order to do so, we obtain their written consent by asking the student to sign a release form.
As a holistic center dedicated to wellness, our Health and Counseling Center staff consult with one another about shared clients/patients to insure quality service. These discussions are specific and limited. Please ask you provider if you have any questions
If you have any questions about the confidentiality of the information you share with Counseling Services staff, please feel free to ask your provider, or contact Director of Bishop Wellness Center, Don Thomson at (503)370-6471.