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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 might be at imminent risk to harm yourself or someone else or you reveal a situation in which a child or elderly person 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 medical treatment you need. Such cases are always discussed with you prior to any referral being made.

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 that will be provided to you at MDC.

In summary, all information shared with the MDC is considered confidential and only released with a Midshipman's consent.  When a Midshipmen is self-referred to MDC. their chain of command generally has no knowledge of their attendance, with the exception of the rare limitations noted above.

Will my MDC appointments follow me throughout my Naval or Marine Corps career?
No. 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 Marine Corps. See also FAQ #3. Our records of your attendance at MDC appointments are deleted seven years after you graduate, as per guidelines of our accrediting body, the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS).
Does any information go into my permanent medical record?
A qualified no. The record of their visit to MDC never leaves the center. By state law, we have to keep them for a number of years after a Midshipman graduates, after which they are destroyed. There is only one exception to this. If, in providing you the best possible care, we need to refer you to the medical command, we will provide them with some information about you so they can best evaluate how to treat you. We still won't send our records WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION, but we will provide them information based on our assessment.  In some cases, medical professionals may want to know about your care at MDC.  This may be to provide follow up care at a future command, or for specific service assignment evaluations.  We do not release records without your permission in these cases.
What effect will going to MDC have on my career here, and in the Fleet?
The MDC exists to enhance your potential for career success, specifically by helping you resolve problems and develop skills to improve your performance and life satisfaction.  When services are limited to the MDC, there is no negative impact to career at the Academy or beyond in the fleet, as your records remain within MDC.  As noted above, there are some situations in which problems are of a severity that additional treatment is needed, so even when care starts at MDC a referral may be necessary. This will always be discussed with you.  
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. Since the MDC is not part of the medical system, contacts are not recorded in the permanent medical record, and any internal documentation is deleted seven years after graduating and commissioning into the military, as required by regulation.
How do I make an appointment at MDC?
There are several ways to make an appointment at the MDC: by email online, telephone, or in person.
  1. The easiest way to make an appointment with a dietitian or psychologist is to email the MDC. The MDC Office Manager 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 MDC a safe space for discussing concerns related to gender identity and sexual orientation?

MDC is committed to providing a confidential, inclusive, and safe space for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. MDC counselors seek to create a "safe space" where Midshipmen can be fully expressive without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe in addressing any issue.

Is MDC a confidential space for discussing concerns related to sexual assault?

MDC is committed to providing a safe space to address concerns related to sexual assault. All staff members are able to provide trauma-informed treatment and our Trauma Specialist is available to provide evidence-based trauma-focused individual therapy. MDC staff do not have an obligation to file a report to SAPR in cases of adult sexual assault. Sexual assault will not be revealed to your chain of command, unless other circumstances, such as risk of harm to self or others, require an exception to confidentiality. Of note, an exception to confideniality is sexual abuse of a child. Confidentiality will be discussed by your provider at your first appointment and you may ask questions about confidentiality at any time. 


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