Increased understanding of the mind-body connection has led to development of effective medical treatments for a variety of mental health problems. The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health's (CCPH) psychiatric services, including evaluation, diagnosis and treatment by a psychiatrist or psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, can assist in the healing process.
All UMass Amherst, students are eligible for psychiatric services at CCPH. However, if another provider is already prescribing psychiatric medication for you, we recommend that you continue seeing that provider. This ensures continuity of care for you and helps provide all students timely access to CCPH services.
You can work with a CCPH therapist without receiving psychiatric services. However, you must see a therapist before making your first appointment with a psychiatric prescriber. The therapist will discuss your needs, help schedule the initial consultation, monitor how well your medications are working and watch for possible side effects.
The combination of therapy and medications is most successful in treating depression and a number of other psychiatric conditions. People receiving psychiatric services at CCPH must also see a therapist. This requirement may be modified over time, depending on your progress.
The initial consultation
The first appointment with a CCPH psychiatric prescriber lasts 45 – 90 minutes and focuses on concerns that are interfering with your functioning and wellbeing. The psychiatric prescriber will perform a mental status evaluation, and ask questions about:
current mental health problems and symptoms;
- previous psychiatric treatments, hospitalizations or medications;
- current medical problems and recent surgeries;
- family history of psychiatric illness;
- substance use history; and
- work, school and relationship issues.
After the evaluation
The psychiatric prescriber may arrive at a diagnosis after the first appointment. Sometimes, medical evaluation by a primary care provider, as well as psychological, laboratory or other tests, may be recommended to clarify the diagnosis or rule out medical causes.
Next, you and the CCPH psychiatric prescriber will set up a treatment plan that may include psychiatric medications. Thirty-minute follow-up appointments will be scheduled throughout treatment, to monitor your symptoms and response to medication. In the beginning, these visits will be more frequent; as treatment progresses, appointments may be one to three months apart.
FAQs about psychiatric medication
Insurance and billing
Psychiatric medication visits are billed to your primary health insurance plan. The Student Health Fee covers any balance not paid by primary insurance, except plan deductibles, which are billed to you. Read your health plan or contact your insurance carrier for details about your coverage.