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Helpline Terms and Conditions

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Prior to starting e-mail counseling, you acknowledge that you have read our Policy Statement and have thereby been informed about what is involved. By choosing to participate in e-counseling, you are signing off that you have read these terms and conditions and your consent is assumed. You can stop the process at any time. In order to receive counseling services through this site, you must be 18 years of age. Counseling via e-mail must be initiated by an adult who is taking responsibility for the process.


Confidentiality
This service will not sell, give, or trade your email or personal information to a third party. Your e-mails and our responses are confidential. As in any face-to-face office-counseling situation, the same procedures would apply in regards to releasing this information. Information can only be released if records are requested by the courts. Information needs to be released to the appropriate authorities if there are threats to your safety or the safety of others such as a child protection issue, or suicidal or homicidal thoughts. These issues of safety for you or others would override the issues of confidentiality.

By law any citizen, including helping professionals, have a duty to report situations demanding child protection or threats of harm to yourself or others. Local child welfare authorities would have to be notified in cases where a child is in need of protection or where there is a likelihood of needing protection. In situations of self-harm or risk of harm toward others, the local police departments would need to be notified.

It is important to remember that there are limits to privacy with any email sent through the Internet or through the use of video conferencing systems such as Skype. Emails on the Internet can be subject to errors occurring within computer systems, human error and networks resulting in e-mails going astray accidentally. Privacy in transit in any form of communication over the Internet cannot be guaranteed.

It is not advisable to send emails from a computer that is designated for work. A work computer is clearly not strictly confidential. Even on a home computer, other family or friends might have access to your files. Communication on the Internet has the potential to be insecure. Laptops can easily be stolen. You need to take your own precautions when using your personal computer to ensure the confidentiality of your private email as this may be the most likely threat to breaches of privacy. You need to evaluate your own privacy situation with your computer records and may want to print files and delete them off your computer.


Mental Health Issues
This service is not suitable for you if you suffer from a serious mental health disorder such as schizophrenia, manic-depression, PTSD or dissociation. These disorders require local face-to-face mental health assessment and treatment. E-mail counseling does not provide assessment, diagnosis or treatment of psychiatric conditions. E-counseling is not intensive psychotherapy and is not intended to substitute for mental health therapy. E-counseling will not address any issues related to medication. Medication needs to be managed by your family doctor or psychiatrist.

This service is not able to respond to crises such as child protection, trauma, domestic violence or sexual assault. This site is unable to respond to your needs if you feel suicidal or homicidal. E-mail counseling would be insufficient for all these types of crises. In situations where trauma has occurred, a full mental health assessment or intensive therapy is needed. At times of a mental health crisis, you need face to face crisis intervention with a local mental health professional. If you feel distress to the point of harming yourself or others, you need to tell someone right away. Contact your local crisis line, family doctor or hospital emergency department immediately.


Responsibility
You are responsible for your own actions. Any decisions or actions taken that you feel are a result of the email counseling, remains solely your responsibility. You are responsible for ensuring confidentiality with your own computer systems. If there are links or advertisements from other sites, they are not endorsed by IDA. You must evaluate site links by their own merit.