Frequently Asked Questions for Parents

Knowing what resources are available to your family member is an important part of assisting  them in meeting goals and/or finding relief from troubling symptoms.  Here are some questions that many family members of students with whom we work have had.

1. Who provides services to students?

2. Who is eligible to receive services?

3. Is there a charge for services?

4. Will other staff and faculty at UNH know that my family member is receiving treatment from PACS?

5. Which kind of individual counseling can my family member receive at PACS?

6. Do you offer other services aside from individual counseling?

7. How do I refer a family member who is a UNH student to your services?

8. What happens if a student is experiencing a mental health crisis?

9. A family member is not yet a UNH student but is going to enroll this fall or spring. Can we speak to you about services?

10. What should I do if my family member is hesitant about having an initial consultation for counseling services?

11. I think my student needs to receive PACS services but will not make an appointment. Can PACS call them to attend?

12. Is it possible for the counselor to update me on what my student talks about in counseling?

 

1.Who provides services to students?

The University of New Hampshire Psychological and Counseling Services (PACS) is staffed by doctoral-level psychologists, social workers, postdoctoral fellows, and doctoral interns who are candidates for the Ph.D. or Psy.D. and are under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. PACS has a contract with a health professional who meets with students about medication concerns.

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2. Who is eligible to receive services?

Most currently enrolled UNH students are eligible to receive a first appointment (“initial consultation") but there are some exceptions. Undergraduate and graduate students who are taking fewer than 5 credits in the semester they seek treatment cannot receive services but can obtain a referral for off campus providers by calling PACS. However, graduate students who are enrolled for only their thesis or dissertation can have an intake session. During the summer, students who are enrolled full time at UNH are eligible for an initial consultation.

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3. Is there a charge for services?

Any student who is enrolled in more than 4 credits and any graduate student who is enrolled in a thesis/dissertation course has paid the Health and Wellness fee and does not need to pay any additional fee or use their health insurance to obtain PACS services.

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4. Will other staff and faculty at UNH know that my family member is receiving treatment from PACS?

Other faculty and staff will not be informed unless the student is having a mental health emergency or the student provides consent to speak to a faculty or staff member that could benefit the counseling process such as the Center for Academic Resources (CFAR), Health and Wellness, or Student Accessibility Services.

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5. Which kind of individual counseling can my family member receive at PACS?

PACS offers planned short-term therapy that is structured and focused on helping students to develop their strengths to overcome their challenges. If it is determined that students cannot benefit from short-term counseling or require additional counseling after they complete counseling at PACS, counselors try to provide them with a referral.  These referrals are to off-campus providers that are affordable, physically accessible, and consistent with their demographic and insurance preferences. 

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6. Do you offer other services aside from individual counseling?

Yes. PACS provides group  and relationship counseling as well as medication services to students. The staff also conducts presentations to the campus community that focuses on preventing mental health disorders.

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7. How do I refer a family member who is a UNH student to your services?

Encourage the student to call 603-862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH) or visit us at 3 Garrison Avenue, Smith Hall, Room 306 during open hours on Monday, Thursday, Friday 8AM-5PM; Tuesday, Wednesday 8AM-8PM to schedule an appointment.

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8. What happens if a student is experiencing a mental health crisis

PACS provides 24-hour, 7 day-a-week emergency coverage throughout the year. Students who require immediate psychological help are seen on an emergency basis by calling PACS (862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 Relay NH) during open business hours (Monday, Thursday, Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Tuesday, Wednesday, 8 a.m to 8 p.m. during the academic year and Mon-Fri 9a.m.-4p.m during Summer) Once students inform the reception that they need a same-day appointment, they are scheduled witih one that day.

Outside of these hours, students can contact PACS main phone number and get connected to clinical staff at Portsmouth Regional Hospital Center for Behavioral Health (CBH). Staff at CBH may recommend that the student have a face-to-face evaluation.

Other local and national emergency services include:

  • Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program (SHARPP):  603-862- SAFE (7233) (helpline) TTY: 800-735-2964 (Relay NH)
  • Community Partners (Strafford County): 603-516-9300
  • Center for Behavioral Health at Portsmouth Hospital: 603-433-5135
  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7, free, confidential): 1-800-273-TALK (available in over 150 languages; text and chat services are available; veterans can press prompt 1 and TTY is 800-799-4889). For more information, please visit: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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9. A family member is not yet a UNH student but is going to enroll this fall or spring. Can we speak to you about services?

Yes. Please call us at 603-862-2090/TTY: 7-1-1 or 800-735-2964 (Relay NH) Monday, Thursday, Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Tuesday, Wednesday, 8 a.m to 8 p.m. during the academic year and Mon-Fri 9a.m.-4p.m during Summer.

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10. What should I do if my family member is hesitant about having an initial consultation for counseling services?

Though entering counseling is a personal choice, sometimes it can be helpful to encourage a student to speak with a counselor about their  concerns. The following guidance may increase the person’s willingness to seek treatment:   

     -Decrease your family member’s possible embarrassment about using services by explaining that many students seek counseling for a wide array of challenges and that realizing that they need support is in fact, a strength.

     -Tell your family member that information shared during counseling is confidential and will not be shared with anyone without permission unless it is an emergency.

     -Inform your family member that they can meet with a counselor for only one session without pursuing more extensive counseling.

     -Refer them to the PACS website so that they can learn more about the services that we offer; read a blog about topics in adjusting to college; and possibly fill out an anonymous online questionnaire about what they are experiencing.

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11. I think my student needs to receive PACS services but will not make an appointment. Can PACS call them to attend?

Generally, the student has to make the appointment themselves even by calling or visiting PACS. However, you can accompany your family member to make the appointment as well as call PACS to express concerns about your family member and receive consultation about how to proceed.

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12. Is it possible for the counselor to update me on what my student talks about in counseling?

This is not possible without the student's permission. Federal and state laws require that counseling conversations and records remain strictly confidential.

We realize that being aware that your family member is attending treatment but not being able to discover what they are discussing can be frustrating. However, confidentiality is a necessary component of counseling so that a person can feel secure enough to talk about their feelings and thoughts openly and directly.

 

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