a doctor in an examining room

Psychiatric Services

The Colonial Health Center (CHC) provides short-term psychiatric assessment and referral services and crisis intervention to GW students. GW undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who are actively enrolled in at least one course are eligible for psychiatric services.

During your first appointment, one of our staff psychiatrists will complete a psychiatric assessment and provide diagnostic and treatment recommendations. If indicated, medications may be prescribed, however, since our services are short-term, students will be referred to community clinicians for ongoing treatment.

The initial appointment will be for 90 minutes. Please arrive on time. During the first 30 minutes you will be required to complete the symptom self-assessment, medical history and paperwork. After this paperwork is completed and reviewed by your psychiatrist, the psychiatrist will meet with you for approximately 60 minutes.

For students currently taking psychiatric medications, we strongly suggest that you contact your insurance company to know what psychiatric services are covered in the Washington, DC area. Your insurance company can provide you with a list of local psychiatrists who are in-network.

The CHC can provide a list of local psychiatrists as well as other mental health services in the DC area. Students who are currently taking psychiatric medication and not in need of immediate refills can call and request a list of referrals without a psychiatric appointment. Those students who do need refills will need to make an appointment with a psychiatrist before refills will be written. Students taking DEA controlled substances, such as ADHD stimulants, will need to provide documentation of previous diagnosis and treatment before medications will be refilled. Please see the ADD/ADHD services information for details and required documentation.

The physicians and therapists at the CHC work closely to provide mental health services for the students. If a student is in distress, we recommend making an appointment for mental health assessment. If indicated, the mental health services therapist will then refer the student for a psychiatric evaluation. The mental health services offered at CHC has urgent care appointments available. CHC psychiatrists are available by appointment only.

If you have individual health insurance coverage, you can search for mental health providers using your insurance provider's website. If you're searching for a psychiatrist, counselor, clinical social worker, or psychologist, you'll likely need to use "Behavioral Health" as the search parameter. Information about using your health insurance to cover your psychiatric treatment or counseling.

Confidentiality and Disclosure of Mental Health Information

Your use of CHC services is strictly confidential. All CHC records are confidential and are maintained in a paper chart until the file is closed and transferred to a digital format.

Your CHC records are completely separate from your academic and other student records. We will not release your mental health information to anyone outside the CHC without your written permission except in emergency situations (e.g., significant risk of imminent and substantial harm to yourself or others), as legally required (e.g., abuse or neglect of children or dependent adults, court orders), or as otherwise permitted by the D.C. Mental Health Information Act.

At your request and with your written permission and payment of an administrative fee, a copy of your treatment record can be sent to another treating clinician or to outside agencies for students undergoing security clearances.

Please be aware that any form of electronic communication (i.e., cell phone, fax, email) is not necessarily confidential. The CHC will generally use electronic communication only for administrative matters such as scheduling appointments, referrals, or evaluation of services. Students should communicate with the CHC by telephone or in person for scheduling or canceling appointments; for requesting additional services; for consultation regarding others; and for crisis support and assistance.