Mar. 17, 2020

Message from the Dean of Students: Update on Student Counseling Services

This email was also sent to faculty and staff at the College.

Dear Students,

Today's update is focused on Student Counseling Services. Below is a message from Janet Spoltore, director of counseling and health services. The message is comprehensive and contains a lot of important information so please take a few moments to carefully read it. Tomorrow, I'll share an update on health services.

Sincerely,

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students

 


 

Dear Students,

As students transition to remote learning and staff transition to telework, we write to update you on Student Counseling Services (SCS) and how our services will work. As is the case any time students are away from campus, it is important to continue to keep up with one’s mental health regimen. We recognize that many of you will continue to need one or a number of the following: regular counseling, mental health consultations, medication management as prescribed and the use of coping strategies and tools to help you with this transition.

First, it is important to note that health providers, by law, are not permitted to practice across state lines. As a result, while we can can provide ongoing “telemental health” to students currently living on campus and to students in the State of Connecticut, we cannot provide ongoing counseling to students living out of state. To ensure you have continuous care, we will be available to provide mental health consultations, referrals and mental health education, which will be provided via WebEx in a manner that differs from regular ongoing treatment. We are working with other national organizations to lift these restrictions to telehealth, and will notify you if any change occurs.

Given the controlled conditions for students to return to campus, we have canceled all previously scheduled counseling appointments this week to create time for us to work on our new systems of service delivery. Below are general questions that you might be wondering and our answers. 

How do I access mental health support? 

  • If you are on-campus or in the State of Connecticut then email scs@conncoll.edu to set up an appointment. Please complete and sign the Consent Form and return it prior to the contact with the counselor. The form explains the use of telemental health and authorizes us to engage with you in such care. SCS will be utilizing WebEx, a HIPAA-compliant platform for telemental health appointments.

  • If you have a regular provider off-campus (e.g. home), please be in contact with that person’s office. 

  • If you need to establish a new therapist off-campus, please review these instructions for going through your insurance to find providers whose services are covered. Additionally, we recommend using the Find a Therapist search engine to identify a local provider. 

  • If you would like your Conn SCS counselor to speak with your home therapist, please complete the SCS Release of Information Form and email it to your Conn SCS counselor.

  • If you would like to consult with a Conn SCS counselor, email scs@conncoll.edu to schedule an appointment. Please complete and sign the Consent Form and return it prior to the contact with the counselor. The form explains the use of telemental health and authorizes us to engage with you in such care. SCS will be utilizing WebEx, a HIPAA-compliant platform for telemental health appointments.

If I’m off-campus, how do I receive care related to medication management as a part of my mental healthcare regimen?

  • Connecticut and Rhode Island residents who are currently engaged in medication management can contact SCS (scs@conncoll.edu) to set up a telephonic appointment with Dr. Lisa Donovan. 

  • If you have pre-existing medication management providers off-campus (e.g. at home), now is a good time to re-engage those services. Your care can be transferred to these local medication providers, including your primary care provider or a local psychiatrist.

  • If prior to spring break you were being prescribed medication by our SCS psychiatrist, Dr. Donovan, and want medical information conveyed to your off-campus provider, you must complete the SCS Release of Information Form to facilitate communication between Dr. Donovan and your off-campus provider. Please complete the form and attach it to an email to SCS@conncoll.edu.

  • If you are seeking a new psychiatric provider at your current location, use these instructions for finding an in-network provider through your insurance company

  • If your medications were being sent from a New London-area pharmacy to campus, you will need to contact your home or local pharmacy and provide them with your current prescription information. They can reach out to the New London pharmacy to get your prescription transferred. Your new or existing home prescribers should submit your prescriptions to your local pharmacy. 

How do I get refills on medications prescribed by Dr. Donovan?

Please email SCS@conncoll.edu to request a refill Information needed including name, phone number, email address, date of birth, medication allergies, medication and dosage and pharmacy information including street address.

Please note that if you already have refills remaining, you may contact your home or local pharmacy and provide them with your current prescription information so they may transfer the prescription. 

If I’m on-campus, how do I receive care related to medication management as a part of my mental healthcare regimen?

Our SCS psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Donovan, is available on Mondays and Thursdays (as usual) remotely by WebEx. If you would like to consult with Dr. Donovan, please email scs@conncoll.edu to schedule an appointment. You must complete and sign the consent form and send to SCS@conncoll.edu prior to the contact with the psychiatrist. It explains the use of telemental health and authorizes us to engage with you in such care. SCS will be utilizing WebEx, a HIPAA compliant platform for telemental health appointments. Please note that new medication patients are not being scheduled at this time.

Medications from our New London area pharmacy (Shop Rite) will continue to be delivered to students residing on campus.

Beyond seeing a counselor on- or off-campus what other resources do you recommend? 

We encourage you to continue utilizing the independent coping tools and strategies you developed during the course of your treatment at SCS. Additionally, because we are acutely aware of the distress caused by the COVID-19 circumstances, we have created a resource to facilitate healthy coping with the present situation. As always, our SCS webpage has a number of mental health-focused resources accessible. We have also created a new resource tab that is dedicated to coping with COVID-19-related distress. 

What do I do in the event of an immediate mental health emergency?

Contact your local emergency services via phone at 911. 

In the event that you are in significant distress and in need of urgent (non-life-threatening) support, you may make use of the following services:

  • SCS After-Hours Call Line, between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m.: Call 860-439-4587 and press 2 when prompted

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    • Phone: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time

We hope that this email provides you with the important information you need to take care of yourself during this time. We look forward to our campus community’s return to normal operations so that we can support you in person. In the meantime, remember that we are all in this together. No Camel is alone--we are here to support you!

Stay well and take very good care.

Sincerely,

Janet Spoltore
Director of Student Counseling and Health Service