Student Handbook – Office of Mental Health & Support Services
Office of Mental Health & Support Services
The purpose of the Indiana Academy is to provide a physical, intellectual, and social environment in which students with exceptional academic ability can thrive in an appropriate learning community. Our objective is to provide a caring, secure learning environment for all students.
Emotional & Mental Health Services
The Office of Mental Health and Support Services (OMHSS) strives to provide students with the support and resources in order to help them achieve their personal and academic goals while at the Indiana Academy. Counseling services are provided by the Psychologist, along with doctoral students in school and counseling psychology. In order to help students thrive, the Academy provides a variety of programs and services that promote wellness and help to prevent emotional and mental distress. Although the Academy provides counseling and other supportive services, it does not have the resources to either provide for or guarantee the safety of those students with more acute mental health issues.
- Brief, time-limited individual counseling with students to support their social, emotional, and mental health needs
- Collaboration with other mental health providers
- Referrals to community therapy providers
- Serve as a mental health resource for Academy parents and staff
- Coordinate opportunities for programing around mental health topics
- Work as a liaison with Indiana Academy faculty and staff
Why might students come to counseling?
Stress management/coping skills
Disordered eating and body image concerns
Relationship difficulties (roommate, friends, romantic)
Understanding one’s sexual/gender identity
Adjusting to the Academy
Grief and Loss
Having a rough day
Concerned about a friend
All information gathered in counseling, including the fact that a student has come to OMHSS, is held in strict confidence. In some situations, the OMHSS is required by Indiana state law or by the guidelines of the profession to disclose information, whether or not the OMHSS have your or your student’s permission. Below are some of these situations.
Confidentiality cannot be maintained when:
- The student reports they plan to cause serious harm or death to themselves, and I believe they have the intent and ability to carry out this threat in the very near future. I must take steps to inform a parent or guardian or others of what the student has told me and how serious the OMHSS believe this threat to be and to try to prevent the occurrence of such harm.
- The student reports they plan to cause serious harm or death to someone else, and I believe they have the intent and ability to carry out this threat in the very near future. In this situation, the OMHSS must inform a parent or guardian or others, and the OMHSS may be required to inform the person who is the target of the threatened harm (and the police).
- The student is doing things that could cause serious harm to them or someone else, even if the student does not intend to harm themselves or another person. In these situations, the OMHSS will need to use professional judgment to decide whether a parent or guardian should be informed.
- The student tells the counselor, or the OMHSS otherwise learn that, it appears that a student is being neglected or abused—physically, sexually or emotionally—or that it appears that they have been neglected or abused in the past. In this situation, the OMHSS is required by law to report the alleged abuse to the appropriate state child-protective agency.
- The OMHSS is ordered by a court to disclose information.
It is the responsibility of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities to provide a safe, supportive, and culturally responsive school environment for all students. The purpose of this protocol is to protect the health and well-being of all students by having procedures in place to prevent, assess the risk of, intervene in, and respond to self-harm, suicide, harm to others and/or other psychological emergencies.
Any time Academy staff become aware of concerns regarding self-harm, suicide, harm to others, and/or other psychological emergencies an initial assessment will be completed. After the assessment steps will be taken to ensure the safety of the student. The student’s parent or guardian will be informed as soon as practical and will be educated on safety recommendations. Additional next steps could include recommending the student begin regular counseling appointments either at the Academy or off campus in the community, the student take a leave from the Academy for a psychological evaluation to determine the best course of treatment or immediate transportation to the hospital.
For students returning to school after a leave, a transition meeting will take place. The purpose of this meeting is to assist in the student’s return to the Academy, discuss systems of care/support and determine the best course of action to meet the needs of the student. The meeting will include the student, parent/guardian, the Psychologist, and other staff members who can assist in the transition back to the Academy. This may include a representative from Academic Life, Residential Life and Student Affairs, and Health Services.
Possible items discussed during meeting:
- Review family’s course of action to support student since becoming aware of psychological emergency.
- Discuss the existing resources and supports in place for the student and family
- Discuss any additional supports or resources the family/student may need
- Discuss absences and missing homework/exams and begin developing a plan to make up required work
- Review recommendations from mental health providers and discuss how we can work together.
Prior to this meeting the following information is recommended from the treatment provider to the OMHSS to assist in the transition:
- A release of information signed for coordinating care
- A summary of treatment progress: current evaluation and diagnostic impressions, a current risk/suicide assessment, etc.
- Recommendations given to student and parents/guardians for continuing treatment (therapy – please include the recommended frequency of these sessions, any medication recommendations, etc.)
- A statement regarding the student’s emotional state and suggestions for living placement/school:
- EXAMPLE: “Based on our recent evaluations, I believe it IS or IS NOT appropriate for the student to return to the residential school setting at this time.” Feel free to elaborate as needed, especially if other arrangements have been made/discussed.
Mental Health Counseling E-Mail Policy
At the Indiana Academy email is frequently used to schedule, re-schedule, or cancel counseling appointments. However, we strongly prefer that you handle all consultation and discussion of counseling issues via phone or face-to-face contact with us.
The nature of email is much like sending a snail mail postcard and we cannot guarantee the confidentiality of messages. In terms of discussing issues, we believe email is not as useful as in-depth, in-person contact. Staff access to e-mail is also limited to Counseling Office work hours. There is no expectation that Counseling staff will check e-mail after hours. Also, there is no way of knowing whether a specific staff member is unavailable due to illness, vacation, or other reasons. This means that a message may not be read immediately.
This becomes especially problematic with messages about crisis situations. We take your time and confidentiality very seriously and therefore consider it imperative that you understand the limitations of our use of email technology.
E-mail should never be used for urgent communication of any sort. If you are experiencing a crisis during business hours (8:00–5:00 M–F) it is recommended you come to the counseling office and if it is after business hours contact a Student Life Counselor, the Front Desk at 765-285-8125 or dial 911.