HCC How-to: Prescription Procedure

*All students in this article are anonymized to protect medical privacy. 

Recently, the Quest was approached by some concerned students regarding the state of the HCC’s mental health resources, specifically when handling prescription drugs. We reached out to the HCC and asked other students about their experiences. How accessible is the HCC? What does the process of obtaining prescription drugs look like? 

Students can use the health portal to schedule appointments for depression and/or anxiety medication consultations. As Dr. Timothie Rochon explains over an email interview with the Quest, “all of the providers follow diagnostic and treatment guidelines” and “follow-up visits are done with students.” A student described the process as “straightforward” and received the prescription for hydroxyzine to manage their anxiety in the same appointment without any formal diagnosis. Another student related filling out a form describing their symptoms before being suggested a few different prescriptions some days later.

One student expressed concern over their friends not being adequately informed of their medication, often consulting them or the internet for answers. Another student remarked that “in hindsight I think my provider at the HCC should have done more to refer me to a psychologist / psychiatrist/other counseling services for a proper diagnosis process, as opposed to just slapping a bandaid on my anxiety symptoms” and was later diagnosed with ADHD as the root of their anxiety. Students are given medication information such as side effects and instructions and can ask questions during follow-up appointments.

When asked about the seemingly large frequency of prescriptions, Director of Counseling Services Johanna Workman wrote that “the number of prescriptions that the HCC has written for controlled medication such as Adderall for ADHD, is less this semester compared to the Fall 2021 semester.” She goes on to write that “it’s harder to get a data driven answer” for antidepressant medication “than it is for controlled medication.” However, she notes, “we have improved access over the last two years by adding psychiatric prescribers, and also by  providing online scheduling” which may explain some apparent increase in prescriptions.

There currently is no case manager at the HCC, who departed last month. As one student noted, this seems to indicate a lack of organization and a greater lack of transparency. Workman explains that “case management duties (such as providing referrals to providers in the community) have continued in their absence, with our Staff Counselors providing case management services. One of our Staff Counselors will be transferring into the Case Manager role full-time on January 3, 2023. This transfer leaves us with one Staff Counselor vacancy, which is currently posted on the Reed job site.”

The counseling services that the HCC provides are located on their website—apart from the medication counseling on the student health portal. Students can call 503-777-7281 to schedule an appointment with one of the counselors, but “they are extremely limited and basically any issues further than a stressful week are referred to external providers,” as a student observes. Workman explains that “counselors provide short-term solution focused in-house counseling. 

For students who seek long-term therapy, we provide case management services to help students get connected to a provider in the community. In making referrals, we take into account the students’ preferences and insurance.”
Programs like UWill, which provides online counseling services, and Togetherall, which is described as a “safe online community” for students to interact, are offered beyond the handful of sessions that counselors can provide. Beyond this, students must look off campus for assistance. Reed also offers a 24/7 Crisis Counseling hotline for emergency mental health needs, but students have reportedly had a terrible experience with the service. While it seems that there is a formal procedure for obtaining prescription medication from the HCC, the separation of the counseling services and the prescription services can prove quite limiting for students seeking mental health assistance as it emphasizes one type of treatment over the other. There is no correct solution to handling mental health issues, but utilizing a wide range of techniques helps individuals by allowing them to explore other options that may work for them.

By Asta Rossi.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Related Stories


We would love your thoughts, please comment!x
%d bloggers like this: