Cook Counseling Center values your privacy and the confidentiality of the personal and health information entrusted to us. In order to protect this privacy we have policies and procedures to limit disclosure of personal information to those minimally necessary for your medical care, those which you have given permission and/or those required by law or public safety.

To release information to an outside provider or family member, you must fill out the Authorization Release Form.

 

To schedule an intake appointment, call 540-231-6557 or come by the Cook Counseling Center office. At this appointment, you will complete several forms on the computer. A clinician will meet with you after reviewing these forms. You will meet with a counselor or psychologist to discuss your concerns and create a plan for achieving desired goals.

If you are concerned about yourself or any Virginia Tech student being (or becoming) suicidal, please call the Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557. This number can be used during regular office hours or after-hours to speak with a counselor.

Students who are in crisis can come into the McComas office:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Students who are in crisis will be evaluated for risk and an appropriate safety plan will be established. Crisis consultation appointments are not scheduled and waiting times may vary depending upon the number of students who have already come in.

There are other local resources to aid in an emergency.

The term mental illness refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders. Effects of the illness include sustained abnormal alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress and impaired functioning. The effects of mental illness include disruptions of daily function; incapacitating personal, social, and occupational impairment; and premature death.

The most common mental illnesses in adults are anxiety and mood disorders.

(www.cdc.gov)

There is one group therapy service, “The Moose Group,” that interacts with the Virginia Tech Therapy dog Moose. To be admitted into this group, or any group therapy service, you have to be a current Cook Counseling client, or have at least one intake appointment with a counselor.

If a friend or family member is showing signs of a mental health problem or reaching out to you for help, offer support by:

  • Finding out if the person is getting the care that they need and want -- if not, connect them to help
  • Expressing your concern and support
  • Reminding your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
  • Asking questions, listening to ideas, and being responsive when the topic of mental health problems come up
  • Reassuring your friend or family member that you care about them
  • Offering to help with everyday tasks
  • Being inclusive - continue to invite them without being overbearing, even if they resist your invitations
  • Educating others so they understand the facts about mental health problems and do not discriminate
  • Treating people with mental health problems with respect, compassion, and empathy

(www.mentalhealth.gov)

For most people, distress is an ordinary and brief reaction to a negative or stressful event. Although unpleasant, distress usually doesn’t lead to serious problems. People with mental health disorders tend to experience distress more frequently and more intensely. Moreover, distress can signal the beginning of a mental health episode that could interfere with daily functioning. There is no easy answer to this question, however this University of Michigan resource can help identify general characteristics that can be helpful in gauging the severity of distress.

Scientists have long recognized that many psychiatric disorders tend to run in families, suggesting potential genetic roots. Such disorders include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia. Each of these five disorders overlap symptoms which suggest that they may also share similarities at the biological level. For more information, refer to the National Institutes of Health.

After the first intake appointment, you will meet with a counselor or psychologist to discuss your concerns and create a plan for achieving desired goals. Plans may involve:

  • Group Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Couples Therapy
  • Psychiatric medication evaluation and management
  • Referral to workshops or self-care resources
  • Referral to another office on campus
  • Referral to a provider in the community

Although we are a Virginia Tech service, counseling records and academic records are completely separate from each other. Counseling records are protected by confidentiality laws that prohibit the release of your information.

The Authorization Release Form is the only way to get access to your records.

  • Ask the person directly about their feelings, even though it may be awkward. Listen to what the person has to say, and take it seriously. Just talking to someone who really cares can make a difference.
  • If you have talked to the person and are still concerned, share your concerns with a responsible, trusted adult.
  • Encourage the person to seek professional treatment, and continue to communicate with them.
  • Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support. Also offer reassurance that things can get better.
  • Never promise to keep someone’s suicidal feelings a secret.

For more information, refer to the Mayo Clinic.

If you are concerned about any Virginia Tech student being (or becoming) suicidal, please call the Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557. This number can be used during regular office hours or after-hours to speak with a counselor.

Students who are in crisis can come into the McComas office:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Students who are in crisis will be evaluated for risk and an appropriate safety plan will be established. Crisis consultation appointments are not scheduled and waiting times may vary depending upon the number of students who have already come in.

There are other local resources to aid in an emergency.

Cook Counseling Center values the privacy of its clients and the confidentiality of the personal and health information entrusted to us. In order to protect this privacy we have policies and procedures to limit disclosures of personal information to those minimally necessary for the medical care of the client, those for which the client has given permission and/or those required by law or public safety.

To release information to an outside provider or family member, a student must fill out the Authorization Release Form.

A psychiatrist is a medical practitioner specializing in the diagnosis and medicinal treatment of mental illness.

A psychologist is a professional specializing in diagnosing and treating diseases of the brain, emotional disturbance, and behavior problems. Psychologists can only use talk therapy as treatment; you must see a psychiatrist to be treated with medication.

Depending on the type, how serious and how long your child has had the symptoms, psychiatrists may prescribe medication for your child. Often, medication is prescribed with some type of behavioral treatment, such as counseling.

(Kids Mental Health Info)

Typically, no. Medications will not significantly change personality, but should affect your child’s symptoms. Psychotropic medications (drugs used to treat mental health illness), often do not change your child’s personality but can lessen their psychiatric symptoms.

(Kids Mental Health Info)

It is not likely that your child will take medications forever. How serious and what type of diagnosis your child has will affect how long they will need medication. The prescribing clinician should assess your child on an ongoing basis to see if medications are still needed.

(Kids Mental Health Info)

Like other health problems your child may face, mental health problems can improve with time and the right treatment. It is important to get treatment for your child when problems first happen to help stop them from getting more serious.

(Kids Mental Health Info)

It is common for people to worry about what others think and have concerns about the stigma of mental health issues. Stigma can sometimes get in the way of enabling your child to get the treatment they need. In our society, it is becoming more accepted to talk about mental health concerns. Mental health issues should be treated like any other health concern that your child may have. There are laws in place that can protect you and your child’s privacy and information cannot be shared without your child’s (the client) consent.

(Kids Mental Health Info)

Be understanding and be open to your child reaching out for professional help.

The Cook Counseling Center cannot disclose if students are or are not clients receiving help without the Authorization Release Form.

Parents are able to call and provide information they are concerned about  if they suspect that their child may be seeking help at Cook Counseling Center. That information will be noted, but there will be no confirmation or denial that a student is a client.