Are CAPS services really confidential?

Emergency Contacts

For Students:

Our overall goal is to make CAPS a place where you feel safe to talk about personal concerns. We are ethically committed to keeping your information completely private and confidential. We follow professional guidelines of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Counseling Association as well as the legal statutes established in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

It is important you understand that written records of your contact with CAPS are not part of your academic record, and we will not disclose information about you to any other office, department, or individual at the university unless you have signed CAPS’ written authorization to release information.

We do want to keep students receiving services at CAPS safe and provide for the safety and wellbeing of the Mason community. There are some specific times where we are required to share information by law to keep people safe. This will be reviewed with you at the start of your IC appointment at CAPS and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions to the assessing counselor about this. The specific instances include: 

*Exceptions to confidentiality occur in the following situations:

  1. We are worried about you having a substantial likelihood now or in the near future of causing serious harm to yourself or others
  2. There is reasonable suspicion of current abuse or neglect of a child or incapacitated adult
  3. A valid court order or subpoena to disclose relevant information in a legal proceeding or investigation
  4. The university threat assessment team receives information that results in the team opening an investigation for you, in which case, CAPS may be required to provide information in your CAPS record to the team as part of their investigation
  5. Instances where parental notification is required by law.

*Please note that if you are being prescribed medication by a CAPS psychiatrist, and you are utilizing insurance coverage under a parent’s plan, this information may be accessible by the policyholder.