What to Expect at Your Appointment
You have made an appointment to come see the psychiatric provider at the University of Idaho Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC). As your appointment approaches, you may have questions about what it will be like—you might even feel nervous about it too.
All those thoughts are understandable and perfectly normal! Let’s take a few moments to discuss some of the questions you might have so that you can be more comfortable and prepared for your first visit.
Before we get started, we want to tell you: good job! Making the decision to see a psychiatric provider is not always an easy thing to do. We are glad that you felt comfortable enough to reach out and take this first big step in advocating for your mental wellness needs.
Things to Know About Your First Appointment
Know your medical and psychiatric history as much as possible. This includes:
- All of your medical concerns and diagnoses, even from different doctors and providers.
- All of your current medications including names, dosages, when you started them and why you’re taking them. Include medications whether you feel they are working or are causing side effects or problems too.
- Family history of psychiatric diagnoses or medical diagnoses.
Be prepared for the psychiatric provider to ask many questions.
- There will be open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no. This helps to gain information and insight into how you have been feeling and functioning on a day-to-day basis, in your own words.
- You do no need to have an answer for every question, and there are no wrong answers.
- Sometimes questions can bring up sensitive topics. Please know you do not need to share anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Your provider will ask about your substance use including alcohol, drugs, supplements and other substances like nicotine and caffeine.
- We don’t report substance use to authorities or law enforcement.
- Knowing substances you use can help to determine appropriate interventions, or help consider side effects or the risk of interactions with them.
- Many substances interact with medications and medical conditions, and their effects may mimic mental health problems as well.
It’s perfectly normal and sometimes expected to experience a wide variety of emotions during the appointment.
- If you need to cry, cry. If you need to take time, take time.
- All emotions are valid emotions during an appointment.
We will come up with a plan to move you forward, but it most likely won’t be the final roadmap. Things change, and we need to be flexible and adaptable when this happens.
- We will discuss options for treatment including psychotropic medication, lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, skills and therapy. It is possible you may leave the appointment without a prescription for medication.
- We may discuss other medical issues you need to have addressed by a different provider, and referrals may be made to appropriate specialists in other fields.
- We may talk about possible diagnoses, but not always in the first appointment. Sometimes the diagnosis changes as well, and we are always working together to gain the most up-to-date and clear information possible. We are always assessing for new information.
- We will discuss how treatment might change as time progresses and how we might manage those changes in the future. Remember: flexibility is a strength, and adapting to changes is healthy.
- Your provider will work to answer all questions you have about treatment options, diagnoses, etc. If they don’t know the answer, they will tell you so and then work to find the answer.
We look forward to seeing you and are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you in taking care of your mental health needs.