Psychiatry Services

Full-time Danforth Campus students who have paid the health and wellness fee are eligible for psychological consultation at Mental Health Services, and psychiatry services are available on an as-needed basis.

Student issues requiring immediate psychiatric care for medical stabilization and/or imminent safety concerns are prioritized and seen as quickly as possible. See more crisis appointment information.

See information specific to the treatment of ADHD.

Research shows that psychotropic medication works best in tandem with mental health counseling. In order to provide the best possible care, in most cases students gain access to MHS psychiatry services after a referral from their existing MHS counselor.

Students interested in psychiatric treatment who do not have an existing MHS counselor should schedule a phone triage appointment (called a screening) with a MHS staff member. The purpose of the conversation is to clarify and assess your needs, and explore options for next steps. Use the Student Portal to schedule your screening and please note that this can take place in person if desired. Learn more about scheduling.

Due to limited availability, students wishing to discuss whether psychotropic medication is right for them or to attain a medical diagnosis of a psychiatric illness should work with a member of the counseling team or an off-campus provider.

Psychiatry Services

Psychiatry services at Habif is staffed by board certified psychiatrists and child and adolescent psychiatrists. Psychiatry services works in collaboration with medical services and counseling services to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of various mental, emotional, and behavioral conditions. Psychiatric staff may be seen by appointment and, in very limited cases, on an urgent basis. If you have a psychiatric emergency, it is best to call 911 or go to the nearest ER or urgent care facility.

A psychiatric evaluation includes a full assessment of current symptoms as well as past medical and psychological problems, family history, personal history, and any relevant treatment history. A number of psychiatric difficulties are influenced by physical conditions. As a physician, a psychiatrist is in a unique position to take into account such conditions and coordinate overall care. This may mean that laboratory testing or medical evaluation may be recommended. Blood pressure, temperature and weight will always be obtained on the first visit and will be required periodically if a patient is prescribed a psychiatric medication.

It is important to keep in mind that psychotropic medications are appropriate and useful for some conditions, however, they are not necessary or helpful in every case. Psychiatrists are trained to deal with the psychological and interpersonal aspects of difficulties, as well as prescription of medication and are in a unique position to assess and recommend a variety of treatment options. Often, therapy or a change in life situation is the appropriate intervention and, if this is the case, proper referrals and assistance with referrals will be made.

Scope of services

There are limitations on the availability of psychiatry services. As part of our assessment, we determine which students will best benefit from services within our office and which students would be better served by other resources on campus or in the community. This evaluation begins before the first appointment during records review, but is an ongoing process throughout treatment.

Sometimes, the management of long-standing, chronic, and/or complex psychiatric conditions is beyond the scope and/or capabilities of our service. When that occurs, mental health staff will work closely with students to find community resources that better serve their needs. An appointment may be made with our case manager for further in-person assistance.

Examples of care outside the capabilities of psychiatry services include (but are not limited to):

  • Need for specialist or specialized care including:
    • Treatment with ketamine, Esketamine, Spravoto
    • Treatment with medical marijuana
    • TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation)
    • ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy)
    • Pain management
  • Need for IOP, inpatient care, or residential treatment
  •  Medication assisted management for substance use disorder
  • Need for weekly psychiatric services
  • Need for medication and psychotherapy with the same provider
  • Evaluations for employment, the courts, for attorneys, or for police-related arrests
  • Treatment of students while they are on leave of absence, beyond the semester they paid their health and wellness fee
  • Medication Wash-Out

Psychiatry services recommends patients being treated with specialized treatments or services obtain all their psychiatric care from the psychiatrist providing those services.
There may also be cases where a psychiatrist recommends psychosocial interventions or a higher level of care to continue treatment with them at Habif. Specifically in cases of eating disorders, these recommendations may include a medical evaluation, labs, and/or meeting with a dietician prior to continuing treatment due to concerns of medical instability. In all of these cases, it is expected that a patient strongly consider the recommendation of their provider and, if they choose not to follow them, patients can be referred for treatment in the community instead.

There may also be times when due to high demand, the wait for psychiatry services is lengthy, and students may be able to receive services sooner off campus.

Transferring Care from a Previous Provider Outside of Habif

Requests for transfers in the psychiatric service can be made until November 1 in the fall semester and until April 1 in the spring semester.  Transfers will be granted based on patient acuity, provider availability, and other service utilization factors, and may not be scheduled until the following semester.

Psychiatry will not refill medication prescribed by another clinician without first being assessed by Habif staff. As the process of transferring care may take up to four weeks, or longer, patients should obtain at least a month’s supply of medication from thier current provider and make arrangement for additional refills to prevent running out of meds before care has been established.

Often, if a patient has an established relationship with an off-campus clinician at home or locally, it may make more sense to continue receiving treatment from that provider rather than transferring care. When a patient transfers care to Habif, they undergo a new evaluation.  Previous treatment will be taken into consideration, but there is no guarantee that the same treatment with be continued.

Patients will receive the best care from a Habif psychiatrist if they get all their psychiatric medication from them. Habif psychiatrists are available throughout the year and can usually continue prescriptions over breaks and the summer by sending refills to pharmacies near a patient’s home or place of travel in the US.  If a patient is being treated by a Habif psychiatrist, Habif asks that they do not get psychiatric prescriptions from other psychiatrists or family physicians. Habif may require documentation of ongoing treatment with those providers prior to resuming treatment at Habif. Additionally, it is possible that patients may not be able to resume care at Habif and would need to continue care with that other provider.

Transferring Providers Within Habif Psychiatry

If a patient wishes to transfer to a different psychiatrist within Habif (i.e. they do not plan to go into the community for care), it is essential they communicate this during an appointment or meeting with their current provider. If at that time the patient and provider decide the patient is better served with a different clinician, transfers can be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Requests for transfers in the psychiatric service can be made until November 1 in the fall semester and until April 1 in the spring semester.  Transfers will be granted based on patient acuity, provider availability, and other service utilization factors, and may not be scheduled until the following semester.

Important Dates & Information for Psychiatry Scheduling

In the interest of best serving students during periods of peak demand:

  • Students wishing to transfer the management of existing psychiatric medication from a home doctor to MHS may do so until November 1 for the fall semester and April 1 for the spring semester.
  • Please note that available appointment slots may fill up several weeks in advance of these deadlines.

Due to the limited number of available psychiatry appointments, students are expected to miss class or work if needed to attend their initial psychiatry appointment at MHS. Habif can provide a receipt of the visit to verify attendance with professors/employers. Follow-up psychiatry appointments are scheduled via the student portal at the student’s convenience.

Community Psychiatry Services

As an alternative to our psychiatry services, students can pursue off-campus options. To that end, students can contact us for assistance and/or see Guide to Community Mental Health Services.