Midshipmen Development Center

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What kind of confidentiality do I have at MDC?
Counseling works best when the midshipman feels comfortable and safe, and does not have to worry that what is said to the counselor will be shared with anyone else without permission. However, even in the civilian sector, there are limits to confidentiality because the welfare and safety of the client and others may require that confidentiality be breached in certain circumstances. Professional counseling relationships with psychologists at the Naval Academy are bound by the same limitations existing in the civilian sector, as well as additional limitations based upon the unique nature of military service.

This is a summary of the limitations to confidentiality that are discussed more thoroughly at an initial appointment:

For any type of appointment, if there is concern that you may harm yourself or someone else or you reveal a situation in which a child or spouse is at risk of abuse, we are required by law to waive confidentiality to protect you or that other individual.

If you are having problems that are beyond the scope of this center to assist, you may be referred to another department to receive care. In this case we may need to waive confidentiality to help get you the the medical treatment you need.

If there is specific concern about your fitness for duty or suitability for commissioning this will be discussed with you first. Your chain of command may need to be informed while we seek to correct the problem.

If you are referred by your command, they will be provided with limited information relevant to your referral. If you are self-referred, requests for information from others will not be honored unless you have first given your permission, with the exception of the circumstances listed above and a few others outlined in the confidentiality statement you will be provided with at MDC.

All information shared with the MDC is considered confidential and only released with your consent.  In almost all cases when a Midshipmen is self-referred their chain of command has no knowledge of your attendance.  There are a few minor limitations which will be explained to you prior to your first appointment, which mainly involve concerns about your welfare.

Will my MDC appointments follow me throughout my naval or marine corps career?
No. In short, while we are an integrated part of the Navy, we are also a self-contained unit serving the midshipmen of the Naval Academy. If you come to MDC to seek assistance for a problem you are having that does not affect your suitability for commissioning (as is almost always the case), the information never leaves the Academy. There is no official record of your visits to MDC that follows you out into the Navy or the Corps. See also FAQ #3.
Does any information go into my permanent medical record?
A qualified no. Our records are "owned" by the Commandant of Midshipmen, in the same way that your official Navy medical records are "owned" by the CO of the hospital in which they are located. The record of you visits to MDC is kept under lock and key in MDC and never leaves the center. By state law we have to keep them for a number of years after you graduate. They are then destroyed by incineration. There is only one exception to this answer. If, in providing you the best possible care, we need to refer you to the medical command, we need to provide them with some information about you so they can best evaluate how to treat you. We still don't send our records, but will prepare a report for them based on our assessment.
What effect will going to MDC have on my career here, and in the fleet?
Not only will it not hinder your career, our findings suggest that midshipmen who have sought services at the MDC have typically enhanced their careers because they were able to resolve whatever difficulties they were having--performance or academic problems, interpersonal and family problems, career indecision, emotional turmoil, etc.--and go on to achieve their goals (i.e., graduate, be commissioned, and serve good careers in the military). If they had not sought help, these problems could have held them back and caused more problems in the future. And since the MDC is not part of the medical system, contacts are not recorded in the permanent medical record, and any internal documentation is shredded after commissioning into the military.
How do I make an appointment at MDC?
There are several ways to make an appointment at the MDC: submit an intake online, by telephone, or in person.
  1. Online: The easiest way to make an appointment with a dietation or psychologist is to visit the MDC website. On the MDC homepage, click on either First Time Nutrition Appointments or First Time Counselor Appointments in the menu on the left. Follow the instructions, then fill out and submit the "Appointment Request." Once you submit the Intake Form, the dietitian or counselor will contact you to schedule an appointment.
  2. Telephone: You may contact the MDC at x3-4897 to schedule an appointment.
  3. In person: You may visit the MDC in person to ask any questions you may have prior to filling out the Intake Form.
Is the MDC a "safe space" for addressing sexual identity concerns?
The MDC is a "safe space" where midshipmen can be fully expressive without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe in addressing sexual identity concerns.
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