We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve you. PACS is a voluntary confidential counseling support for currently enrolled students.
PACS offers distance counseling via telephone or face-to-face video conferencing to currently enrolled UNH students who meet the eligibility criteria for distance counseling services. This service is available to clients assessed as being appropriate for this form of counseling.
Prior to beginning telehealth services, you will complete a telehealth screening with a PACS clinician. This process protects you from another person posing as you. Video communication may lack some visual or audio cues that on occasion may result in misunderstanding. Should this ever happen, it is important to assume that your counselor has positive regard for you, and to check out your assumptions with your counselor. This will reduce any unnecessary feelings of discomfort.
Video conferencing counseling sessions are held via Zoom, a HIPAA compliant video conferencing platform. It is recommended that you sign on to your account at least 5 minutes prior to your session start time. You are responsible for initiating the connection with PACS via the provided software link at the time of your session.
Limitations of Distance counseling
Distance counseling should not be viewed as a substitute for face-to-face counseling or medication by a physician. It is an alternative form of counseling with some differences from traditional counseling. For example:
- Due to the use of technology, video counseling may have disruptions in service and quality of service.
- If you are having a crisis, acute psychosis, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts, video counseling might not be appropriate for your needs.
Emergency Management for Distance Counseling
So that UNH Pscyhological and Counseling Services is able to get you help in the case of an emergency and for your safety, the following measures are important and necessary:
- Your counselor will need to know the location/address in which you will consistently be during counseling sessions, and will need to know if this location changes.
- Your counselor will request that you identify someone, whom you trust, to give your counselor permission to contact should a situation occur that your counselor believes you to be at risk. You, and/or your counselor, will verify that this emergency contact person is able and willing to go to your location in the event of an emergency, and if your counselor deems necessary, call 911 and/or transport you to a hospital.
Backup Plan in Case of Technology Failure
- The most reliable backup is a phone. Therefore, it is recommended that you always have a phone available, and that you provide your counselor with your phone number.
- If you get disconnected from a video conferencing session, re-start the session. If you are unable to reconnect within ten minutes, please call your counselor.
Scope of Service and Eligibility
PACS provides services for all eligible students, without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or veteran status. If it is determined by the clinical staff that an individual’s needs exceed the scope of service or expertise available at UNH Psychological and Counseling Services or that your needs cannot be adequately met by participating in distance counseling, we will assist you to identify an appropriate referral to meet your needs. Student Counseling Services does not pay the costs of therapy or community resources/treatment services to which you may be referred.
Confidentiality is essential to your counseling progress. Our counselors are graduate level or higher mental health professionals who are ethically and legally bound to maintain your confidentiality. A written and/or electronic record (date, time, nature of meeting) of your contacts with PACS will be maintained in a secure manner. Counseling records are not part of your college educational record. In addition to PACS staff, Health and Wellness physicians and nurse practitioners have access to your records for the purpose of consultation. The H&W medical providers are bound by New Hampshire laws of confidentiality and will not discuss your records with others unless required or permitted under applicable law.
Video conferencing sessions in our office or from a remote home office are provided behind a closed door. All video conferencing correspondences will be done through Zoom, which is encrypted to the federal standard.
To schedule a telehealth pre-screening appointment or for questions give us a call at 603-862-2090.