Psychiatry services are on a referral basis only. You must be referred by a physician, nurse practitioner or counselor who works in the Student Health and Counseling Service in order to make an appointment to see the psychiatrist.  

Psychiatry is for students who are seeking an evaluation for medication for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and social phobia, and others. Psychiatrists at SHCS are medical doctors who specialize in assessing and treating mental health.

People are sometimes confused about the difference between psychiatry and counseling. At our center, psychiatry’s main role is the assessment for helpful and appropriate medication for mental health issues. Psychiatrists at our center also follow students to assure any medications given are working as well as possible. Our psychiatrists often refer students to counseling when a student might benefit from “talk therapy”.

Counseling, which includes psychologists, licensed marriage and family therapists, and licensed clinical social workers are professionals who specialize in the various types of “talk therapy”. Counseling services are best suited to students who are dealing with personal and life circumstances which are impacting their ability to be successful. Our counselors often refer students to psychiatry when one might benefit from medicine.

Psychiatry and counseling work closely together to give students as much support as possible in dealing with mental health challenges.

Our psychiatrists do not provide assessment or diagnosis of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD). Please refer to ADD/ADHD Resources in your area or visit

Students previously diagnosed and/or treated for ADD/ADHD who request refill of ADD/ADHD medications from the SHCS will be required to provide appropriate documentation of the diagnostic evaluation and treatment by previous treating physician(s) or other licensed professionals. You will need to complete an Authorization to Release Confidential Information Form.

Examples of information to be included are:

  • Neuropsychological or psycho-educational assessment (done by a psychologist or other licensed professional) with documentation of diagnosis and recommendations.
  • Evidence of early impairment (prior to 12 years of age)
  • Evidence of current impairment in two or more settings (personal life, school, work)
  • An objective ADHD rating scale (such as CAARS/Conners)

Examples of supporting information that are not acceptable include:

  • A summary letter from your previous provider
  • Recent visit notes 
  • Prescriptions or empty pill containers
  • Note from parent or teacher

You must bring these records with you to your appointment with the psychiatrist, or have them sent to the health center prior to your scheduled appointment. The psychiatrist will determine if your records support a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, and if they are comfortable refilling your medication or prescribing new ones. Seeing the psychiatrist does not guarantee that you will be prescribed medication.

If you are prescribed stimulant medication by the psychiatrist, you will be asked to review and sign a Stimulant Medication Agreement.

Benzodiazepines and Hypnotics

Please note our new policy effective January 1, 2015.

Student Health and Counseling Services has a strict policy on prescribing benzodiazepine medication (such as Ativan, Klonipin, Xanax, Halcion, Valium) and hypnotics such as Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta. The psychiatrist will determine if a benzodiazepine or hypnotic medication is appropriate after conducting a complete psychiatric evaluation and reviewing your prior medical records. It may take several visits with the psychiatrist to determine if a benzodiazepine or hypnotic medication is indicated or not. Seeing the psychiatrist does not guarantee that you will be prescribed medication. If the psychiatrist does prescribe abenzodiazepine or hypnotic medication, it will be a one-time prescription for 10 days only with NO refills.

Students previously prescribed benzodiazepinesor hypnotic medications by an outside prescriber who request medication refills from the SHCS will be referred back to the originalprescriber for refills, or to find a new outside prescriber. Providers in SHCS do not refill benzodiazepine or hypnotic medication.

If you are currently being prescribed benzodiazepine or hypnotic medication by the SHCS psychiatrist, your medications will be refilled until June 30, 2015 to allow you time to find anoutside provider for future refills. SHCS will not refill your benzodiazepine or hypnotic medications beyond June 30, 2015.

Prior to your visit:

To lessen the wait time, fill out the Health History Form on MyPioneerHealth.


There is no additional cost for psychiatry. Medications prescribed by a SHCS psychiatrist may be purchased at the SHCS pharmacy, often at a lower cost as compared to pharmacies in the community.


Psychiatry is available Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 4pm.

To Make an Appointment:

Psychiatry services are on a referral basis only. You must be referred by a physician, nurse practitioner or counselor who works in the Student Health and Counseling Service in order to make an appointment to see the psychiatrist. 

Initial appointments are about 45 minutes and follow up appointments are about 20 minutes.  Psychiatry services are available at no cost to currently registered students of the university.

Appointments for psychiatry must be scheduled through the SHCS front desk. You must present the Psychiatry Referral Form given to you by a SHCS provider or counselor to the front desk in order to make an appointment to see the Psychiatrist. 

For More Information:

Call (510) 885-3735

Last Updated: 02/27/15

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