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A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the area of mental health. The Psychiatrist prescribes psychotropic medications for treatment of mental illness. The Counseling Center at James Madison University offers acute stabilization and time-limited psychiatric services to students who have been referred by a Counseling Center clinician. Only students who are currently engaged in on going treatment at the Counseling Center (e.g., weekly, twice-monthly, or at least monthly sessions) are eligible to receive these services. Any other JMU student who is interested exclusively in psychiatric services will be given an off-campus referral.

Due to limited psychiatric services and potential need for chronic medication management services, students will be referred to community providers for maintenance treatment. Students with an ongoing relationship with a family physician or psychiatrist, including those who begin counseling at the Counseling Center, should maintain services with these providers. Consultation may be requested, with the long-term goal to maintain treatment with the community provider.

During the initial assessment, the Psychiatrist will ask you questions about your current concerns and relevant medical history and will then make a recommendation to you based on the information received from you and your counselor. One possible recommendation may be for you to try medication that the Psychiatrist will prescribe in conjunction with your counseling sessions. With some medications, routine lab work is necessary, and the Psychiatrist will let you know if this is the case with any of those prescribed to you. The cost of any medication and/or necessary lab work is the financial responsibility of the student (commonly paid through claims to the student's health insurance).

If medication is prescribed for you, periodic follow-up visits with the Psychiatrist will be required. You are encouraged to discuss any concerns you have about your medication, including any side effects, during these appointments.

During regular office hours, emergency appointments at the Counseling Center can be scheduled by phone (540-568-6552) or in person. Emergency appointments are handled on a first-come, first-serve basis, according to appointment availability and the urgency of the request. After working hours and on weekends, you should contact the Office of Public Safety (540-568-6911) and ask them to contact the counselor on call. If you are dealing with a life-threatening crisis situation that demands an immediate response, you may choose to proceed to the Sentara Rockingham Memorial Hospital Emergency Room (2010 Health Campus Drive, 540-689-1414) or contact the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Community Services Board (540-434-1941) for assistance.