Federal and state laws along with professional ethical standards prohibit the disclosure of any information you provide us unless we have your prior written consent. Thus, if a HWS official or your parents or anyone else should inquire about your receiving services here, we would not be able to disclose any information about you (including whether or not you have used the Counseling Center) without your written permission. Even so, there are a few exceptions to the confidentiality laws and standards, as follows:
- If your counselor believes that you or someone else is in clear and imminent danger of harm, your counselor is legally obligated to inform proper authorities and others in order to help prevent the harm from occurring; in such cases your counselor may also decide that it is in your best interest to contact your family and HWS officials.
- The Counseling Center is required under the NY State Safe Act to report any students who we believe present a credible danger to other(s) to the Office of Mental Health for the purpose of removing firearms from those with significant mental health concerns.
- When using HWS on-call services the crisis manager may consult with other campus officials as is deemed necessary.
- If you provide information indicating that someone under 18-years-old, or living in a nursing home, or living in residential health care facility is being abused, your counselor is legally required to notify authorities even if you don't want to grant this permission.
- In rare cases a court of law may order your counselor to disclose information about you.
- If you are under 18-years-old, your parents or legal guardian may have access to your treatment records, and in most cases your parents must sign the consent to treatment form on your behalf. There are exceptions to this policy allowed by NY State law when there are sufficient reasons that seeking parental consent would be damaging to you and your mental health.
It is possible that at some point in the future you will be required by an outside agency to sign a release allowing the agency to review your treatment records. This may occur, for example, if you apply for health or life insurance, if you apply for licensure or certification in some professions or if you apply for employment in agencies that require a security clearance.