Frequently Asked Questions
To schedule a Cook Connect appointment, call 540-231-6557. Before your first scheduled appointment, you will be provided a web link that will allow you to complete several forms. A Connect clinician will meet with you after reviewing these forms. You will meet virtually with a counselor to discuss your concerns and create a plan for achieving desired goals.
If you are concerned about the safety of yourself or of any Virginia Tech student, 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 should call 540-231-6557 and ask to be connected to a crisis clinician by phone. This person will help determine the next steps needed to address the crisis. The clinician will first attempt to meet the student’s needs via a telehealth format, but the clinician will be available to meet face to face if telehealth is not sufficient. Examples of a crisis that might require a face to face, in person, meeting are experiencing significant thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, a recent trauma or sexual assault, psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices or seeing things, or disruptions to thinking that damage the ability to function or be safe.
Other local resources in emergency situations include:
ACCESS/RAFT – 540-961-8400
Virginia Tech Police – 911 if on campus or 540-231-6411
Blacksburg Police – 911 if off-campus in Blacksburg or 540-961-1150.
· When you feel significantly distressed and your quality of life becomes impacted. These impacts may often include changes in sleep, appetite, and social interaction.
· When you notice you have lost interest in your work and hobbies
· If you find yourself feeling that life is not worth living or that other people would be better off without you
· Sometimes talking things over with family and friends may help you get over difficult times. If talking to your friends and family is not enough, and they say they have noticed a change in you and are worried about you, it is time to talk to your doctor or a counselor.
At your first appointment, you will discuss available services with a counselor. These include:
- Individual counseling
- Couples counseling (both members of the couple must be enrolled VT students)
- Consultation with students and parents
- Groups and workshops
- Psychiatry / Medication management
- Referral to appropriate campus offices
- Referral to off-campus providers
The Cook Counseling Center offers various groups, support groups, and workshops. Below is a link to the groups, support groups and workshops offered at the Cook Counseling Center:
The information that a student shares with her/his/their counselor/therapist in the course of a counseling session is treated as confidential material. Treating information confidentially means not releasing it to anyone outside the agency without the student's permission.
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.
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 without your written permission.
· Find out if the person is getting the care they need, if not, connect them to professional help (refer him/her/them to the Cook Counseling Center)
· Express your concern about their health
· Listen to the person and provide support
· Remind your friend or family member that help is available and that mental health problems can be treated
· Request a consultation with a professional at the CCC
- 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.
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 should call 540-231-6557 and ask to be connected to a crisis clinical by phone. This person will help determine the next steps needed to address the crisis. The clinician will first attempt to meet the student’s needs via a telehealth format, but the clinician will be available to meet face to face if telehealth is not sufficient. Examples of a crisis that might require a face to face, in person, meeting are experiencing significant thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, a recent trauma or sexual assault, psychotic symptoms such as hearing voices or seeing things, or disruptions to thinking that damage the ability to function or be safe. .
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.
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.
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.
If my student is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, will this mean they will have a lifelong problem?
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.
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.
Be understanding and be open to your child reaching out for professional help.
Even if a professional comes highly recommended, I’m still not sure I’d be comfortable sending my student for counseling without talking to the person myself. Is that allowed with medical privacy policies?
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.