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Mental Health and Medication Management

Mental Health Services

Watkins Health Services (WHS) believes that mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. In addition to general and mental health services offered in the primary medical clinic at WHS, we offer medication management for appropriate patients with two Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP-BC). Some conditions that the PMHNP can assist with include anxiety disorders, depression and other mood disorders, ADHD, personality disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Establishing good mental health often involves a team effort, and the PMHNP can assist with appropriate referrals for more complex conditions that may require additional support outside of Watkins Health Services. Our PMHNP’s focus is medication management and therefore, therapy services are not provided through WHS. Recommendations for additional services including therapy, nutrition support, academic accommodations, and substance abuse counseling will be discussed at initial and follow-up visits with the PMHNP. Referral support and resources are available through two Licensed Masters Social Workers (LMSW) and Case Management services on-site. WHS mental health services are located on the second floor of Watkins in the “Blue” Clinic.

Becoming a Patient

Your first appointment with a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is a consultative appointment where your provider will focus on getting to know you and assessing your personal goals for treatment. If you have been diagnosed and treated for mental health concerns in the past, it is recommended that you have records from your previous provider(s) faxed to WHS at 785-812-0214 before your initial visit.

Types of Appointments

Initial Mental Health Visit

A 60-minute appointment intended to explore options for medication management.

This appointment will be used to establish a therapeutic relationship with your PMHNP. At this visit, your past mental health, physical health, and social history will be reviewed. Your goals for treatment will be discussed and any necessary referrals for additional services will be made based upon your needs and the recommendations of the PHMNP. A treatment and follow-up plan will be developed and any questions regarding medications will be thoroughly explored. If you have never seen a Mental Health Provider in the past or have never seen one of the PMHNP’s at Watkins, this is the appropriate appointment to schedule for your visit.

Follow-up Mental Health Visit

A 30-minute appointment for established patients.

Follow-up visits will focus on response to mental health medications, any concerning side effects, and ongoing treatment planning including appropriate referrals if necessary. You and your PMHNP will determine the frequency of follow-up visits based upon your response to medications and goals for medication management. You should plan for frequent follow-up visits early in the course of treatment.

How to Schedule and Prepare for an Appointment

Appointments may be scheduled:

  • Online: Web booking is available by logging into your Patient Portal
  • By calling the Appointment Line at 785-864-9507
  • By calling the Nurse Helpline during normal business hours at 785-864-9583
  • Follow up appointments will typically be made during your visit with your PMHNP

Students who schedule initial visits with the PMHNP may receive a phone call or secure message from one of the Case Managers to help them prepare for their appointment.  

Registration Information

Check-in kiosks make checking in for your appointment quick and convenient. Just be sure that your insurance information is updated, if applicable. It is recommended that you arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment start time to check in for your visit. All patients being seen for mental health visits need to check in downstairs before coming up to the second-floor Blue Clinic for their visit. You will be directed to complete a few mental health surveys before each visit.

By updating your Preferred Name through the Enroll & Pay system, that preferred name will populate into your medical record at Watkins Health Services. This will allow WHS staff the ability to refer to you in the manner you choose, rather than by your legal name. 

Pronouns may also be specified in advance of your appointment at WHS. You may enter these via the patient portal, which will then populate into your medical record at WHS.

Costs for Mental Health Services

Every student at KU pays a health fee each semester as part of the mandatory campus fees. The full health fee entitles the student to be seen by our PMHNPs at no charge for the office visit. If labs are recommended and ordered, there would be a charge for any lab services performed. There will also be a pharmacy charge for any medications prescribed. WHS will bill any insurance company other than Medicare or Medicaid. The patient will be responsible for any non-covered charges. Referral services provided by outside providers are not covered by the student health fee. If there are any questions about charges for specific services, please call our Business Office at 785-864-9520.


If you or someone you know is in crisis or has urgent mental health needs, help is available 24/7 by calling or texting 988 or visiting 988lifeline.org.

On-campus resources:

Counseling and Psychological Services offers free crisis visits during business hours. These drop-in appointments are available by coming into CAPS and letting the front desk know that you need an urgent appointment. 

Watkins Health Services also has a list of Suicide prevention resources

Off-campus resources:

Lawrence offers local crisis services including 24/7 walk-in care at the Treatment and Recovery Center. The TRC also has a list of mental health resources in Lawrence.

 

You may want to see a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Watkins for several reasons.

  • You have never been on mental health medications and want to explore treatment options.
  • Your therapist recommends starting on medications and feels that a PMHNP would be an appropriate referral.
  • You want to continue on medications already prescribed and don’t have a provider in the area. If you are already established with psychiatry and live locally (Lawrence, Topeka, or the Kansas City area), it is recommended that you continue with your current provider.

PMHNPs do not perform testing to confirm an ADHD diagnosis. If a diagnosis has already been provided, we can prescribe medication for ADHD. Watkins Health Services has more information about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with information about resources.

You can contact Watkins Case Managers at 785-864-1547 to discuss ADHD testing options.

If you are transferring care from another mental health provider, please have your medical records ready for the PMHNP to review or have records faxed to 785-812-0214 before your initial visit. A Watkins Case Manager might contact you before the appointment to get additional information and help prepare you for your visit.

You can utilize therapy services at CAPS and medication management services at Watkins. It is recommended that you sign a release of information (ROI) to ensure continuity of care between your therapist and the PMHNP prior to your initial visit.  

You can sign a release of information (ROI) at Watkins which allows WHS to request your records.

Providers can only meet with students via telehealth if they reside in the state of Kansas.

Telehealth visits are not available for initial visits.

Telehealth appointments may not be appropriate for all students.

Except in extenuating circumstances, you will always be scheduled with the same provider to ensure continuity of care.

At your initial visit, your provider will message you on the Watkins patient portal to establish a line of communication through secure messaging. After this, you will login to your Watkins portal to securely message your provider.

You can call the main number at 785-864-9500 and leave a message for your provider if secure messaging is not available.

Email is not recommended to communicate with your provider as it is not considered to be secure in communicating personal health information.

No, WHS has a policy of not providing ESA letters.

You can call the Watkins Case Manager at 785-864-1547 to receive more information.