Communicating with parents

There may be occasions when you feel that your student is experiencing more emotional turmoil than usual, and you wonder how you might be able to help. The University Counseling Center will respond to parents or guardians who are concerned about their student; however, such contacts must be in compliance with established University Policy and professionally prescribed confidentiality requirements.

The University Counseling Center maintains student-client records in a confidential manner consistent with federal and state law, as well as guidelines from professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers. Therefore, with the exception of serious medical or psychological emergencies, the University Counseling Center is not free to divulge any information regarding the student. In non-emergency cases, where the student is struggling with or seeking help for psychological reasons, including substance abuse treatment, the University Counseling Center will abide by the relevant state and federal laws. Accordingly, it is recommended that parents/guardians discuss in advance with their student if and how they might involve themselves in communication with university administration, faculty, or Counseling Center staff. Release of Information Forms are available at the University Counseling Center for this purpose.

It is also important to remember that students living in the residence halls on-campus are under the watchful eye of the Residence Life staff — residence directors (RDs) and residence assistants (RA) — who live in the residence halls with your student and are also always available to offer assistance or added attention to potential problems. Our trained RAs are in continual contact with the Counseling Center and serve as an important resource in offering assistance to those students who otherwise may neglect to seek help on their own.

Whenever possible, however, it is best to establish a good basis of communication with your student regarding these personal matters. You may want to invite them to contact the University Counseling Center for an appointment with a counselor for an initial assessment. In that way, the counselor and your student can together determine what services, if any, would be most beneficial. Alternatively, if your student would like to know more about our services before deciding to come in, please urge them to check out this web site.