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Wellbeing Services’ Protocol

Introduction

SUTD regards the emotional and mental health of its students as important to supporting their academic functioning and personal growth.

In line with the University’s endeavour to promote mental health and wellbeing among the student community, the Wellbeing Services was set up to meet the emotional and psychological needs of the students.

The Protocol of the SUTD Wellbeing Services stipulates the guidelines and parameters that govern the conduct of its Counsellors, and the operation of its professional counselling services.

The Protocol

  1. The Wellbeing Services abides by professional counselling codes of conduct and ethics, and applicable laws and statutes of Singapore and SUTD’s prevailing policies and regulations.

  2. Professional counselling (refer to No. 4) and consultation (refer to Point. 5) are carried out in a private and confidential setting. However, limits to confidentiality may apply if there is reasonable assessment of risk to person or property, or possible criminal liability. The Wellbeing Services may exercise the ‘Duty to Warn’ to appropriate members of the community or the student’s next-of-kin if the student presents serious at-risk behaviour during the counselling session or meeting.

  3. As SUTD is an institute of higher learning, the Wellbeing Services offers its services to a person on an explicit consensual basis, and respects the person’s right to privacy and autonomy to determine what kind of professional help or service provider that the person is comfortable with.

  4. The Wellbeing Services provides counselling to consenting students, and is not in the position to do the following:

    • Mandating a student to receive counselling, or making contact with a student to receive counselling without his/her explicit informed consent.
    • Disciplining a student with behavioural or conduct issues as this may contravene the therapeutic role of the Counsellor.
    • Supporting a student’s application, appeal or cause (e.g. housing or employment-related matters).
    • Providing academic support to students in their project, assignment or research.
    • Participating in an inquiry, investigation or disciplinary hearing as this may pose a possible conflict of interest, with the exception that there is a legal obligation to do so.
    • Intervening in a potentially risky situation where acts of aggression or violence may inflict bodily harm.  Law enforcement agencies will be deemed more appropriate.
    • Engaging in discussion or discourse that falls outside the purview of a professional role of a Counsellor (e.g. politics or religion).
  5. In the provision of consultation to a party who may have concern over the wellbeing of another individual, the Wellbeing Services is not in the position to discuss about the said individual without his/her awareness or informed consent. This is to safeguard the person’s privacy and confidentiality on ethical grounds. It may be necessary for the concerned party to make known the intention to the affected individual about the possibility of consulting the Wellbeing Services and/or obtain the person’s explicit consent. The Wellbeing Services may not also be obliged to maintain anonymity of the affected individual if there is reasonable assessment of serious at-risk behaviour due to legal and ethical considerations.

  6. The Wellbeing Services does not disclose or discuss information about a student with an external party, with the following exceptions:

    • There is reasonable assessment of risk to person or property.
    • There is possible liability of a civil and/or criminal offence if the information is not disclosed.
    • The information is needed to manage a critical incident (e.g. hospitalisation or missing person).
    • The information is needed by an appropriate authority to aid an official investigation, inquiry or contact tracing in a disease outbreak.
  7. For request to release confidential information concerning a student who has received counselling at the Wellbeing Services, mutual consent in writing needs to be obtained from both the student as well as the Wellbeing Services, with the exception that there is legal ground to release the information without the informed consent of both parties or either party. Either party reserves its right to withdraw the consent at any point, nullifying the agreement to release the information.

  8. The Wellbeing Services adopts and maintains a professional position of neutrality, and does not align itself with any side in a dispute or conflict between parties or action taken by an individual or agency against another party.

  9. The Counsellor shall explain the limits to confidentiality to a student receiving counselling at the first session. An agreement to these limits shall be obtained from the students before the counselling session proceeds.

  10. As counselling is a private and confidential matter, the Wellbeing Services does not encourage an external party to be present during the counselling session, unless the Counsellor assesses that it is necessary, and an agreement has been obtained from all parties.

  11. Student attending counselling for the first time are required to complete an online or manual version of the Registration Form. The Wellbeing Services regards all manual and electronic versions of student’s visits, records, case files and notes, and statistical data as restricted and confidential materials 

  12. The Wellbeing Services may refer a student to other professional resources, including community resources, if the student’s issue or condition is not within the expertise of its Counsellors or scope of professional counselling.

  13. The Wellbeing Services reserves the right to refuse its services to any person who is physically or verbally abusive or poses a safety risk to its Counsellors.

  14. The Wellbeing Services is not available to alumni and members of the general public.