Counselling Privacy Statement
This information is provided in addition to that given in the Staffordshire University Student Privacy Statement.
Information relating to any counselling you receive from the Counsellors here will usually remain confidential to the ‘Counselling and Mental Wellbeing’ and ‘AccessAbility Services’ staff teams. We share information amongst these staff teams in order to try and provide the best possible service to you. Within these teams, only the Counsellors have access to any records created in relation to your counselling here. Other University staff, such as those within the Student Hub or other advisors, may be aware of or be directly involved in arranging any appointments you may make for Counselling. The Counsellors also receive supervision for their counselling work from Supervisors external to the University, in line with guidelines from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). This supervisory relationship is also usually confidential.
However, there may be circumstances where we may feel it necessary or be bound by law to break confidentiality, with or without your consent or knowledge, and liaise with and/or provide information to appropriate University staff and/or persons or organisations external to the University. Such circumstances are rare and usually relate to a serious concern for your own or someone else’s wellbeing and might include (but are not limited to):
Concern that you may attempt suicide or seriously harm yourself
Concern that serious harm may come to someone else (including child protection and terrorism)
If a Court of Law/the Police require information
Where possible and appropriate, we would usually attempt to discuss any such circumstances with you prior to taking any action.
In addition, University IT staff need to help maintain electronic systems within the Counselling service, and this may mean that occasionally, when fixing a problem for example, they are able to see names and general details of students for whom we hold records.
What information is stored and processed?
Any information you provide to us, or that we wish to record in relation to you having counselling with us, will be stored electronically and processed in line with Data Protection Law. We need to store and process this information in order to provide a counselling service to you. The Counsellor will make brief notes about any counselling sessions that you have and any other relevant information relating to your counselling sessions may also be stored, such as the type and level of difficulty that you are experiencing, as well as more general information. We may also include information provided to us by other people which relates to us providing a counselling service to you. Any information that we store in relation to any counselling you have from us from September 2016 onwards will be kept for 6 years from the date of your last counselling appointment here, unless there are any ongoing matters relating to the information that mean we need to retain it for longer. After this time period, all information will be deleted in line with the University's Data Classification, Handling and Disposal Policy. We also use the information to compile anonymous statistics about the use of the service, which are shared within and outside of the University.
Where you do not actually have any counselling appointments with us, any information that we store about you (such as emails or other information from you or other people) will only be kept for 1 year from the date of the last information noted in relation to you, unless there are any ongoing matters relating to the information that mean we need to retain it for longer.
Access to information
You will usually have the right to see the information that we hold about you. For further details, please see the University’s web pages, which include information on how to make a Subject Access Request.