We understand and appreciate that parents often wish to be involved when their child seeks counseling; however, if a student is 18 years or older, confidentiality guidelines do not permit us to talk with parents about their student’s participation in counseling without the student’s written consent. However, you are always welcome to contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and speak to a therapist to share your concerns. While we may not be able to acknowledge anything specific about your child, we will take your concerns seriously and treat them sensitively. It may be helpful, however, to share with your child the fact that you spoke with us. It is important for you and the therapist to be open and honest with your child if counseling is to be effective. You can also remain confident that the information you share with us will remain confidential within the counseling staff members unless there is an imminent threat to the safety of a student.
Students under 18 years of age
In the state of Maryland, students 17 years of age or younger are considered minors and are not subject to the same rules and regulations of confidentiality that students 18 or older are. Families in this situation can consult with us directly for more information.
Counseling records are separate from a student’s academic record. No one at the college has access to a student’s counseling record unless the student gives permission for that access.
Make an Appointment
If you are concerned about your child, you can encourage them to call the Wellness Center for an appointment, for free and confidential services. We can also consult with you about how to help your child. It is important to note, that while we know you are concerned about your child, our policy is that the student make the appointment. This both ensures confidentiality and encourages your child to take responsibility for themself.
When your child calls the Wellness Center at (240) 895-4289, the office coordinator will schedule the first available appointment. The first appointment is approximately 75 minutes, 25 minutes for filling out the appropriate paper work and 50 minutes talking with the assigned therapist.
After completing paperwork, the therapist will meet with the student to assess their current situation. At that time, the therapist will determine whether further sessions will be necessary or if more specialized or longer-term counseling would be beneficial. If the therapist feels a student needs more than Counseling and Psychological Services can offer, the therapist will discuss alternative counseling options that the student can pursue off campus. Any costs/fees of services outside of St. Mary’s College Counseling and Psychological Services are the responsibility of the student.
How can I get help for my child?
There may be times you are particularly concerned about your child. For example, they may call and are upset, tearful, or despondent. Despite your best efforts, they don’t seem to be feeling or getting any better. Counseling is available on an urgent basis to talk to your child. We want to provide students with the help and support they need before a crisis occurs. Please encourage your child to call or stop by the Wellness Center and know that they can be evaluated that same day.
If your child is in an immediate crisis, for example, they are unable to function, have lost touch with reality, or are threatening to harm themself, please see our Crisis Response link.
CAPS staff members are available Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. In the event that a crisis occurs after hours, either Public Safety, (240) 895-4911, or the Residence Life on-call professional should be contacted. In the event that immediate intervention is required by one of the mental health staff, the Public Safety officer or on-call professional will contact CAPS staff. In the instance that the student requires immediate psychiatric services, they will be transported directly to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.
Resources for Parents
- Let the Journey Begin: A Parent’s Monthly Guide to the College Experience by Jacqueline Kiernan MacKay and Wanda Johnson Ingram
- Making the Most of College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard J. Light
- 5 Questions Every Parent, Student Should Ask About Campus Safety