As physicians specializing in mental health treatment, CMHC psychiatrists offer the following services:
- Psychiatric evaluations
- Prescribing of medications and medication management
- Comprehensive treatment planning
- Coordination of care/consultation with other professionals
For some, counseling (done by CMHC counselors) and medication monitoring (done by CMHC psychiatrists) provide a complete and comprehensive system of treatment all under the same roof. Sometimes a student's concern requires care that is beyond that which we can provide at CMHC. If this occurs, we will work with you to establish care off campus.
CMHC Psychiatric Staff
- Psychiatric services at CMHC are provided by three full-time staff psychiatrists, who are licensed physicians certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
- Services may also be provided by trainees, including a psychiatric resident, psychiatric nurse practitioner student and/or psychiatirc pharmacy resident, All the trainees are supervised by a CMHC psychiatrist.
- A psychiatric nurse is available to provide nursing care, schedule appointments, facilitate the communication between student and psychiatrist and assist with referrals.
What to expect when you meet with the psychiatrist
- Courteous and professional treatment: You will be treated courteously and professionally. Our psychiatrists are trained to be sensitive to the personal issues that students discuss. As with all of the appointments at CMHC, the information you discuss is confidential to the extent permitted by law.
- Psychiatric evaluation: Your first visit with the psychiatrist is usually an evaluation, which focuses on why you were referred. The evaluation takes about an hour and entails a series of questions designed to get to know you, your history, and the symptoms that you are currently experiencing. In most cases, treatment recommendations will be discussed with you. The psychiatrist will determine if your needs are within the scope of our services. If your needs are beyond the scope of our services, you will be referred to an off-campus psychiatrist and/or other mental health professionals.
- Follow-up appointments for medication monitoring: If medication has been prescribed, your psychiatrist will want you to schedule a follow-up appointment to assess the effectiveness of your treatment.
- Missed appointments: There is a $25 fee for a missed appointment or for an appointment that is not cancelled 24 hours before the appointment.
- Recommendation for combination of services: Most students benefit from a combination of counseling (group and/or individual) and medication. Your CMHC psychiatrist will likely recommend that you work with a counselor in conjunction with medication treatment. It is important you follow treatment recommendations made by your psychiatrist.
How to communicate with your psychiatrist or the psychiatric nurse
- Secure Messaging: By clicking on the My CMHC in the upper right hand corner, you can log-in for secure messaging. You can communicate securely and confidentially with your psychiatrist or the psychiatric nurse or you may receive lab results or messages from your psychiatrist. To ensure consistent communication keep your e-mail current with the University. Also, CMHC staff does not respond to messages sent via regular e-mail, as it is not a secure form of communication, but secure messaging is. Find out more about Secure Messaging by clicking here.
If you have never taken psychiatric medication, but think that it might be helpful
- If you are considering medication to help you with your concerns, CMHC is here to help. The first step in this process is to call CMHC at (512) 471-3515 option 3 to speak with an intake about counseling options.
Individual Counseling The counselor can talk with you about your current concerns and the variety of treatment possibilities that might be helpful to you, including the possibility of a referral to a physician to explore medication options.
- If you are currently seeing a CMHC counselor and you want to consider medication as an option in your next appointment, please discuss this with your counselor.
- If you are currently receiving counseling outside of CMHC, please discuss referral options with your counselor of record. This is the professional who best knows your current needs.
If you currently take psychiatric medication and are interested in transferring your care to a physician at UT
More and more, students who attend the university are already being treated with medications. Often, it can be helpful for you to continue your relationship with your current prescribing medical provider, because the provider already has a treatment relationship with you.
However, it might be necessary to consider transferring your care to a UT physician (University Health Services physician or CMHC psychiatrist), and we would like to assist you with this when appropriate.
Preparation necessary to transfer care to UT
- Begin the process early If you need a transfer of care because you don't have the ability to have contact with the physician who currently prescribes your medication, you are strongly encouraged to begin this process as early as possible. A transfer of care to a new physician can be a lengthy process.
- Avoid waiting until you are almost out of your medication: Students who wait until they are nearly out of their medication to embark upon the process of transferring their care often have to seek additional refills from the physician who currently prescribes for them.
- Call (512) 471-3515, option 3, Monday-Fridays from 8AM to 5PM Even though you may be doing well on medications at present, we need to get to know you and your mental health needs before we can assume responsibility for prescribing and/or monitoring your medication. This process starts by calling CMHC at 471-3515, option 3. You will complete a brief telephone screening, and will then be instructed about what steps to take next.
Transferring care to CMHC
- The process takes 3 to 4 weeks. The CMHC appointment with a psychiatrist is typically scheduled to take place 3-4 weeks from when you call, to allow sufficient time to obtain your treatment records from your previous physician(s) and/or therapist(s). CMHC will mail or fax this request after you sign a release of information form, but it may take a few weeks for us to obtain the records, as this depends on the response of your former physician.
What you can do if you run out of medication before your appointment
- If you will run out of your medication before your scheduled appointment with a UT physician, call your former physician to ask for a prescription (preferably a 4 week supply) to be phoned to a pharmacy in Austin. Your physician is familiar with your care and your needs and is in the best position to supply you with medication in this interim period.
- You may choose to have your medication filled at the University Health Services pharmacy. The phone number for the UHS Pharmacy is (512) 471-1824.
- If you are taking medication that cannot be called in to a local pharmacy, mailing you a prescription may be an option. A four-week supply, in most cases, should be adequate to allow time to obtain records about previous treatment, complete the evaluation process, and provide recommendations.
If you used to take psychiatric medication, but don't currently, and think that it might be helpful to start again
It is not uncommon for students who once took psychiatric medications to consider taking them again.
- If you are not currently in counseling, please call CMHC to speak with an intake counselor.
- If you are currently receiving services at CMHC, please discuss this issue with your counselor, who can help facilitate a referral to a physician if appropriate.
- If you are currently in counseling outside of CMHC, please work with your counselor to get a referral either to a UT physician or an off-campus physician to evaluate your medication needs.
Psychiatric Treatment at CMHC
In order to provide all UT students with timely access to Psychiatry Services, the CMHC Psychiatrists will work to stabilize and improve a student's psychiatric symptoms over a 1-2 semester period. Thereafter, depending on circumstances, students may be referred to an off-campus physician. This serves to decrease the long wait times for available Psychiatry appointments for students new to CMHC. The psychiatric nurse assists students with referrals, so that every student is able to continue the treatment that was initiated at CMHC.
Why are some students referred to off-campus providers for psychiatric care?
CMHC serves the entire student community, but there are limitations on the availability of our services. Our evaluation and screening systems are designed to determine whether a student's needs match the services CMHC Psychiatry is able to provide. If a student requires a level or type of treatment that CMHC psychiatrists cannot provide (e.g., more frequent appointments or specialized services), we will work with you to refer you to an off-campus provider.