Confidentiality

For students:

Our overall goal is to make Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) a place where you feel safe to talk about personal concerns. 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. 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 or individual unless you have signed CAPS’ written authorization to release information.

Exceptions to confidentiality occur in the following situations:

  • there exists a substantial likelihood that in the near future you may cause serious harm to yourself or others
  • reasonable suspicion of current abuse or neglect of a child or incapacitated adult
  • a valid court order or subpoena to disclose relevant information in a legal proceeding or investigation
  • 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

For Faculty/Staff:

The Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act’s (FERPA’s) disclosure restrictions do not apply to concerns stemming from personal knowledge derived from direct, personal experience. For example, a faculty or staff member who personally observes a student engaging in erratic and/or threatening behavior is not prohibited by FERPA from disclosing that observation to other officials or to the student’s family. However, confidentiality in the counseling relationship is protected in the state of Virginia. This prevents counseling staff from discussing a student’s counseling without written permission from the student. Counselors and support staff cannot confirm in any way if a student has been seen at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Our counselors will, however, work with students to obtain a release of information to support coordination of assistive efforts. In the event of imminent safety concerns, CAPS will/can notify appropriate authorities to address those imminent concerns.

For Families:

Under state and federal laws, confidentiality in the counseling relationship is protected. This prevents counseling staff from discussing your student’s counseling history without written permission from your student. Counselors and support staff cannot confirm in any way if your student has been seen at Counseling and Psychological Services. Exceptions to confidentiality may occur should your student be in imminent danger of harming self or others. When appropriate, we will attempt to get a release of information.

In Crisis?

Emergency Contacts

    Crisis Text Line
    Text 741-741
    CrisisLink
    703-527-4077
    National Suicide
    Prevention Lifeline
    800-273-8255
    Veterans Crisis Line
    800-273-8255, Press 1
    Mason Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Crisis Line
    703-380-1434
    TrevorLifeline
    866-488-7386
    Trans Lifeline
    877-565-8860

Non-Emergency Contacts

    Counseling and Psychological Services
    703-993-2380
    Student Support
    703-993-3686
    Mason Police
    703-993-2810