HEALTH AFFAIRS 12/5/16: Stressed During Finals Weeks?

By Marcia Morris, MD, Psychiatrist, SHCC Psychiatry at the Counseling and Wellness Center

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, the sooner you get treatment the better. But, getting treatment can sometimes seem not as easy as you had hoped, so in this article I will talk about ways you can access psychiatric care at UF.

Studies show that people respond better to treatment the earlier they begin treatment. Strikingly, two-thirds of people with depression and half with anxiety go untreated.

What are the barriers to treatment?

Sometimes the stigma of seeing a psychiatrist might keep you from getting help, but I want you to know that 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder in the last year, and that these problems are common at your age. Taking medication is one tool to helping with symptoms, and other tools like therapy and wellness activities are also very important. I hope that by reading this article you will feel more comfortable seeking help for problems that often occur in college students.

How would you access psychiatry care at the University of Florida?

There are different paths to care, and sometimes there can be delays during busy times of the year. My first bit of advice is to let a friend or parent know you are seeking help, so they can encourage you if you encounter roadblocks.

  1. Advocate: Let a friend or parent know you are seeking help so they can support your efforts.
  2. Triage: Ask for a triage appointment at the Counseling and Wellness Center. When you meet with the counselor, ask to see a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner in SHCC Psychiatry at the Counseling and Wellness Center.
  3. Case Manager: If there are no psychiatry appointments, request to meet with the Counseling and Wellness Center case manager. She will help you find a community psychiatrist.
  4. Primary Care: If the wait to see a psychiatrist seems too long, you can ask your primary care doctor at SHCC if he or she will prescribe you a medication. Not all primary care doctors will do this, and in that case you might want to see if your primary care doctor or pediatrician from home will start you on medication as a bridge to getting in with a UF or Gainesville provider.
  5. Patience and Hope: Don’t give up if you’re encountering problems. Work with your friend or parent to get treatment.