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Psychiatric Medication


The Cowell Center’s Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Erik Steidley, N.P., works in collaboration with the CAPS team to support students with short-term medication management. Typically, students who are already taking psychiatric medications will not be eligible to start psychiatric care at CAPS—we reserve this service mainly for students needing to start psychiatric medications. After stabilizing on medications, we will support students in transferring to an off-campus psychiatric provider for ongoing prescriptions and care.

How to Schedule an Appointment

Research indicates that most of the time, mental health conditions are best treated with psychotherapy, rather than with medication alone. For this reason, students will typically be required to start therapy at CAPS before having an appointment with the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. If you are already in therapy at CAPS, ask your therapist about a referral for psychiatric services. If you are not yet in therapy at CAPS but are interested in meeting with the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, call the Cowell Center at (408) 554-4501 for more information (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), even if you are not sure therapy is right for you. Appointments cannot be made online.

What to Expect

Intake appointments are in-person at the Cowell Center to allow the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to better evaluate the student's medical stability to start medications. This will typically include checking vital signs, such as blood pressure or pulse. For safety reasons, medication will generally not be prescribed without these checks. However, if there are circumstances that would prevent a student from engaging in this evaluation, reasonable accommodations will be made. Follow-up appointments may be held in person or virtually depending on the need to assess the student's physical status and other circumstances.

Appointments with the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner are free of charge up to the point they are determined to be appropriate for referral to an off-campus provider. This fee structure is offered as part of a one-year (fall 2022 to summer 2023) pilot created by the university and donor funding. However, students are responsible for any lab and medication expenses. As with all CAPS appointments, there is a $30 fee for late cancellations (under 24 hours) or no-shows.