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Confidentiality Statement

All contacts with a counselor in Student Counseling Services (SCS) are covered by the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act.

This means that any information disclosed during your contact with SCS will be kept strictly confidential as required by this Act, and by applicable ethical standards. Your written permission is required before any information about your contact with SCS is released to anyone outside SCS. This means if your roommate, friend, parent, or professor, etc., calls us, we cannot even acknowledge that we know of you. It also means if you want us to release information to someone else, we cannot do so until you give us permission in writing.

According to the Act, however, there are three situations when we are required to release information:

  1. If a minor child is at risk of being abused or neglected, a counselor would be required to report that information to the appropriate agency to assure the safety of the child.
  2. If you present an imminent risk of serious injury to yourself. In this case, the counselor would take action to assure your safety, releasing only the information needed to do this.
  3. If you threaten serious harm to another person. Again, we would have to take action to protect the other person, releasing only the information necessary to assure the person’s safety.

Please note that e-mail is not considered a secure, nor confidential, messaging system, therefore SCS staff will not send you confidential information via e-mail. You are given the option to indicate willingness to receive appointment information via e-mail, with the understanding that such information will be sent with no indication that the message is coming from the SCS.

If you have any questions about confidentiality, please call the SCS at (309) 438-3655.

Confidentiality Laws

Confidentiality is an essential part of any counseling relationship. The Counseling Center staff adheres to the ethical standards of their respective professions and to state and federal laws relating to confidentiality. These standards and laws prevent us from speaking with concerned person about their student's contact with the Center unless we have the student's written permission.

Thus, for friends and family, unless your student gives us written permission, we cannot acknowledge whether your student has been seen at the Center or is making progress in counseling.

Many students prefer to keep their counseling completely private, and such privacy is typically vital for successful counseling. Assuming your student is willing to have one of the counselors discuss her or his participation in counseling with you, a release of information will be completed. Note that, in general, counseling is best served if everything parents, friends, or loved ones have to share with their student's counselor is also shared with their student.

Even if your student doesn't give their counselor permission to provide information to you, you may choose to contact a counselor to share your concerns. Such contact may make sense, for example, if you are concerned that your student is in serious danger. Note, however, that the counselor will not be able to even acknowledge knowing your student, and that the counselor will want to discuss any information you provide with your student.