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.


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. 

Fees at UCSC Psychiatry

Fees for UCSC Psychiatry are the same for all students and detailed below. If the student has UC SHIP for insurance, the fee will be charged to UC SHIP. If the student has another insurance, the fee will be charged to the student, rather than the insurance. However, the student may seek reimbursement from your insurance. If the fees are an obstacle to getting psychiatric services, a case manager can connect the student to Slug Support for possible financial support.

  • Initial psychiatric evaluation: $200
  • Follow-up psychiatric visit: $100
  • 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 Information

Student Health Services Medical and Psychiatric Providers do not offer testing, treatment or refills for ADHD medications. Students requesting ADHD testing and/or treatment are referred to local or online providers. Our team can help you with off-campus resources to obtain these services in a timely manner. 

Students wanting to address mood and anxiety symptoms as well as inattention can be evaluated by UCSC Psychiatry, if appropriate for our services. Workshops and individual appointments with our psychiatric case manager are available to determine the appropriate treatment option.

On-campus resources for ADHD:

Off-campus resources for ADHD:

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

  • Hours and contact information
  • 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.

Other Resources