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Table of Contents


General Information

What is Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.  A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an M.D. or D.O.) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.  Medications may be prescribed as part of the treatment.

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UCSC Psychiatry staff work at Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS), located on the 2nd floor of the Student Health Center, East Wing, above the Pharmacy.

Telepsychiatry and COVID-19 Operations

If you have been referred for a psychiatric evaluation, that visit will take place in-person or via Zoom video (telepsychiatry). Telepsychiatry may not be provided for diagnostic and safety reasons if you don't live in Santa Cruz County AND you aren't responding to treatment OR you have a condition that requires a higher level of care. If these conditions are in place, treatment by a local provider will be strongly recommended.


All students currently enrolled in classes at UCSC are eligible for psychiatric services at UCSC. You don't need to live on campus to receive psychiatry services and can use Zoom or phone. However, please note that psychiatry services are limited. 


If you have not received services at UCSC Psychiatry before (or you haven't been there recently), the first step is usually a short initial assessment. To schedule a psychiatry appointment, call (831) 459-2628.

Crisis Services

UCSC students in crisis, or anyone concerned about a UCSC student's mental health and well-being, can call CAPS at (831) 459-2628 any time for help. Psychiatrists and nurse practitioners on the Psychiatry 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 emergency room or urgent care facility. For information about crisis services at CAPS, please read more about crisis assistance here. Please also read our Frequently Asked Questions.

You can also call the Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast at (877) 663-5433 (ONE-LIFE).

Concerns related to the side-effects of medication may be answered by calling the Student Health Center’s After-Hours Advice Nurse number at (831) 459-2591. 

Costs at UCSC Psychiatry

There is no copay for UCSC psychiatry. However, starting in Fall 2020, UCSC Psychiatry services have fees. If the fees are an obstacle to getting psychiatric services, a case manager will connect you to Slug Support for possible financial support.

  • Initial psychiatric evaluation: $90
  • Follow-up psychiatric visit: $35
  • Labs and bloodwork have separate charges


  • UC SHIP students: we will bill UC SHIP directly. 
  • Other insurance: we can provide you with a receipt and you can submit this receipt to your insurance for reimbursement. 

Pharmacy and Labs

  • Students with UC SHIP can use the UCSC pharmacy and Student Health Center lab or an off-campus pharmacy or lab. Prescription copays are generally lowest at the UCSC pharmacy.
  • Students without UC SHIP insurance must use an off-campus pharmacy or lab. 


Mental health professionals, including UCSC Psychiatry staff, follow laws ensuring confidentiality. Because all of SHS operates as a team, information about your care may be shared on a need-to-know basis with other staff at SHS so that we can coordinate your care. Information is not released to other departments of UCSC or outside of UCSC without your written permission, except in certain rare situations. Read more about confidentiality on our Counseling page or ask one of our staff for more information.

Off-Campus vs. On-Campus Psychiatric Services

Sometimes off-campus psychiatry is the best option to meet your needs, such as when:

  • no UCSC psychiatry appointments are immediately available
  • you have an established relationship with an off-campus clinician 
  • you have Kaiser insurance, which requires that all your psychiatry appointments, labs/bloodwork, and prescriptions take place at a Kaiser facility
  • you have a serious issue that is best treated at an off-campus facility

Off-Campus Care with UC SHIP

UC SHIP students need a referral form from CAPS or the Student Health Center, which you will give to the off-campus clinician during your first visit. 

To get the form once CAPS or the Student Health Center has created the referral, visit Health e-Messenger, our online secure messaging system. 

  • Log in with your CruzID and gold password
  • Go to  "Referrals” and print a copy of the referral form. find a PDF copy of the referral form, which you can print out. 

There is a copay of $20 per appointment off campus using SHIP, and there will be a copay for any labs/bloodwork required and prescriptions given.

How to Find Off-Campus Care

See our brochure on finding psychiatry services and our off-campus referrals page for more info and tips. CAPS staff can also provide you with information about off-campus referrals and how to connect with them. Call us at (831) 459-2628 to schedule a brief initial appointment, during which we can assess your needs and discuss your options for getting help.

ADHD Treatment

Initiation and continuation of prior treatment for ADHD depends on review of your symptoms, clinical history, and previous testing. You will need a diagnosis from an outside provider, validated by psychological testing, before you can receive ADHD services at UCSC Psychiatry. Psychological testing for ADHD is not available at UCSC.

Transfer of Psychiatric Care

If you are already receiving psychiatric medication from doctors not affiliated with UCSC, you may prefer to continue working with your current medical provider. If you are considering transferring your care to a clinician at UCSC, please review the information below. 

  • UCSC psychiatry providers’ treatment and recommendations may differ from those of your current doctor.
  • Get at least a month's supply of medication from your current provider. Make arrangements for additional refills in case you run out of medication before your care has been established at UCSC. Typically UCSC providers cannot provide emergency refills to students without an appointment.
  • Schedule a short screening appointment with a CAPS counselor so that we can learn more about your current situation and history. The counselor will explain your options and next steps and help you connect with a UCSC psychiatrist, a UCSC primary care provider, an off-campus psychiatrist, or other campus support. 
  • At your first appointment, bring accurate and complete information regarding your mental health treatment. This includes the names and phone numbers of current/recent providers, name of medication(s) and dosage prescribed, and information about past counseling experiences. You can also request that your current prescribing clinician send information related to your treatment to us. To do so, you will need to obtain a release of information from your current provider; most doctors require signed releases before sharing any records. You will also need to complete a release of information form for CAPS.

Contact Information

  • Appointment scheduling: call (831) 459-2628, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • After-hours crisis services (evenings, weekends, and holidays): call (831) 459-2628 and follow menu prompts.
  • Consultation about your own concerns or about your concerns for a UCSC student by phone any time; call (831) 459-2628
  • Fax: (831) 459-5116

Please don’t use email to contact us, as email is not secure or timely. Call our office instead.

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