Parents and Client Confidentiality

Parents should be aware that the professional staff at Student Counseling Services is ethically and legally obligated to maintain client confidentiality. This means that we cannot share information with you about your student's attendance or progress in counseling , the University of Southern Mississippi, or any other party without their expressed written consent. However, there are some special cases where we are legally and ethically oblicated to disclose client information to protect public welfare. They are:

  1. If there is a risk of imminent harm to your student or another person (e.g., a serious intent to commit suicide or homicide), counselors have a legal and ethical duty to protect life. Counselors may contact police and psychiatric hospitalization services to protect your student and others from suicidal or homicidal intent. Please note that counselors will collaborate with your student to implement safety plans other than police intervention or psychiatric hospitalization if possible. Police intervention and psychiatric hospitalization are used only when absolutely necessary.
  2. If counselors are provided evidence that a child, elderly person, cognitively disabled, or physically disabled person is being abused or neglected, it will be reported to appropriate authorities.
  3. Counselors must release information when a court of law orders them to do so. Counselors take steps to ensure that the information released to a court of law is absolutely necessary for the legal process, and whenever possible, avoid releasing information that a client deems personally damaging. 
  4. If your student experiences a medical crisis while at Student Counseling Services, counselors may  provide necessary medica linformation (e.g., about medications) to medical personnel as appropriate for your student's safety.

Although we strictly maintain client confidentiality within these guidelines, parents and family members of students may want to call us to share important information about a particular student, or ask general questions about our services. We are more than willing to recieve information about a particular student, or provide general information about our services. Please note, however, that we can neither confirm or deny whether a particular student is a client at Student Counseling Services.

In rare cases, minor students who are enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi seek treatment at Student Counseling Services. We obtain consent to treat such clients from their legal guardians before treatment begins. In addition, we notifiy legal guardians of minor clients' attendance and progress in counseling when this information is requested. Please note that in many cases, it is helpful to the therapeutic process to allow minor clients to collaborate in deciding how and what information to share with their legal guardian.