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Mental Health FAQs

Not sure which mental health care option is the right fit for you?

All students are welcome to contact CAPS at (434) 243-5150 for help connecting with mental health support and deciding which services are the right fit!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to receive services at CAPS?

Students who pay the comprehensive health fee as part of their tuition are eligible for CAPS services at no additional charge. CAPS is also available to consult with parents, concerned community members, university faculty, staff, or administrators who may need to discuss student issues.

Where is CAPS located?

CAPS is located on the fourth floor of the Student Health and Wellness building on 550 Brandon Ave. 

How do I set up care at CAPS?

You can schedule an initial phone assessment online using the HealthyHoos patient portal (login using your Netbadge ID) or give us a call at (434) 243-5150 during business hours to schedule. Depending on the time of year and your schedule, initial phone assessments are scheduled within 1 to 5 business days.

Are CAPS services confidential? How will the privacy of my information be protected? Will my parents get notified? Will my information become part of my student records?

Once you turn 18, as a student of the University of Virginia, you have the right to privacy and confidentiality regarding your medical care.

Your medical records will be kept confidential and access to information about you will be limited to those legitimately involved in your care. Your medical records will be released only in cases of medical emergencies, in response to court-ordered subpoenas or to persons you specify with your written consent.

Please be sure to discuss this issue with your parents. Unless you give permission in writing or by telephone, we are not allowed to divulge information to anyone, including your parents, about your care. 

Do I need to prepare for my initial phone assessment? 

Please make sure you are in a location where you have a sense of privacy and relative quiet, as well as an adequate cell phone signal. Also, have the following information available:

  • Name and dosage for medications you are currently prescribed, or have been prescribed in the past.
  • Name of prior therapists and/or prescribers (physician, psychiatrist, nurse, etc).
  • Name of your insurance provider (to facilitate appropriate community referrals, if needed).
What do I do if I feel like I'm in crisis?

If you feel like you are in crisis and can’t wait for the next available initial phone assessment appointment, please call (434) 243-5150 and ask the CAPS receptionist to connect you to the on-call therapist. If it is during business hours, you can come to the CAPS office for an emergency visit with the on-call therapist.

  • TimelyCare's on-demand TalkNow service is available 24/7 via phone or video at no cost to UVA students. You will be connected to a mental health professional within minutes who is trained to respond to every level of concern. Download the TimelyCare app to connect to TalkNow.
  • If it is after business hours, you may call (434) 243-5150 and ask to speak with the emergency consult therapist.
What if I want to see a therapist in the community?

Visit the CAPS Community Referral Database for a list of providers in Charlottesville including therapists and psychiatric providers. You may also call CAPS for assistance with finding a therapist or psychiatrist in the community.

I have an intake appointment scheduled with CAPS. What does that mean?

During your 50-minute intake appointment, your CAPS therapist will ask you several questions in order to understand your presenting concerns. If you are taking medications of any kind, or have been prescribed medication in the past, you will be asked to share the medication name, dosage, and the name of the prescriber. Additionally, the therapist may ask you to sign a release of information form to communicate with that previous provider(s). At the conclusion of your intake appointment, the therapist will provide you with a series of treatment recommendations including individual therapy, group therapy, and/or other community referrals.

How do I get a refill for my medications?

Your psychiatric provider will help you schedule your psychiatry appointments so that you don’t run out of medication between visits. It is the expectation of the psychiatric team that you will stay on top of any medications that you take and regularly keep appointments in order to continue to receive prescribed medications. If you miss a psychiatry appointment, you should reschedule it immediately to avoid running out of medication. If you do need to call for a prescription refill, you should call your psychiatric provider no later than 3 business days before you run out of your medication.

I take medication for ADHD. Do CAPS psychiatric providers prescribe these medications?

CAPS psychiatric providers do not provide care for students who only need prescriptions for ADHD medications. For this need, students will be referred to a community psychiatrist or other medical provider.

If you have received ADHD medication prior to coming to UVA, it is recommended that you contact the provider who most recently prescribed the medication to ask if they can continue to prescribe and monitor the medication while you are at school.  You may need to arrange follow-up appointments throughout the year (for example, during school breaks) for your provider to continue to prescribe the medication.

If you prefer, you can transfer your ADHD care to a local provider. Information on locating providers in the Charlottesville area, can be found on our referral page here or this SDAC resource page.

Of note, if you are under the care of a CAPS psychiatric provider for other mental health concerns, your CAPS provider might, in some circumstances, prescribe medication for ADHD. If you are referred to a CAPS psychiatric provider and you've previously been diagnosed with ADHD, you should bring documentation of all ADHD-related assessments to your initial psychiatric appointment.

Please note that stimulant prescriptions are not provided by clinicians in Medical Services.

What do I do if I'm about to run out of medication prescribed by an out-of-town physician?

If you find yourself about to run out of medication, your best option is to contact the physician who originally prescribed your medication to obtain a refill. Most refills (excluding most ADHD medications) can be called into a local pharmacy, including the UVA Health's satellite pharmacy located in Student Health and Wellness building, by your original physician.

  • You should not expect to receive a prescription from a CAPS psychiatric provider who has not been involved in your treatment. If you want to start seeing a psychiatrist in Charlottesville, plan to transfer your care before you run low on your prescription.
  • If you are unable to receive a refill prescription from your original prescribing physician and you are running out of medication, you may seek help at the following same day clinics in Charlottesville: MedExpress Urgent Care (434-978-3998) in Seminole Square or Martha Jefferson Hospital Urgent Care Center (434-982-8500) on Peter Jefferson Hwy in Pantops.
If I am dissatisfied with my therapist or psychiatric provider; can I request a change?

Yes, you may. First, we strongly encourage you to discuss your concerns with your current therapist. Typically, it is helpful for the therapist/psychiatric to know what is working and not working for you and to discuss how therapy can better serve you. If you are unable to speak with your therapist/psychiatric provider, or afterward you would still like to change providers, please call CAPS at 434-243-5150 and the office staff will assist you with next steps.

Does CAPS write Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letters?

Student Health and Wellness understands that an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can be an important source of support for many students. Nonetheless, the providers at the Student Health and Wellness (including CAPS) do not prescribe or provide letters supporting the use of ESAs. Additionally, pursuant to University Policy SEC-044 and in accordance with the Fair Housing Act and Section 504, ESAs are allowed in residence halls only as an approved accommodation through the Student Disability Access Center.