Example Questions to Ask

Our PCL psychiatrists answer mental health and substance use questions about assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning for adult patients, including medication management or other treatments. It may be helpful to know that the PCL psychiatrist may or may not have experience providing psychotherapy.

Examples of in-scope questions the PCL can answer:

  • You have a patient on psych meds and wonder if they are working effectively. You want to know if a particular medication can be taken only as needed or if it should be taken on a regularly scheduled basis.
  • You are wondering about the impact of substance use on mental health symptoms. For example, your patient continues to have some paranoia even when they abstain from methamphetamines – is that possible?
  • You have a patient on psych meds, and you wonder whether a specific symptom could be a side effect. For example, do all antidepressants have sexual side effects?
  • You are wondering which symptoms suggest which diagnoses. Perhaps you think a patient has bipolar disorder or you want to know the difference between psychosis and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • You have a question about whether a specific medication can help a patient with a specific diagnosis. For example, do antidepressants work for depression in bipolar disorder, does Wellbutrin help with PTSD?

Examples of out-of-scope questions and roles:

  • You need help finding the patient a prescriber or a different behavioral health provider or other resources, provide advice on specific treatment programs, or assist with patient referrals for care at UW or Harborview.
  • You want help with an emergency, and you are not an emergency department provider.
  • You want advice or clinical supervision regarding your therapy with a patient, ideas on rapport building or how to get your patient to engage in counseling.
  • You have questions about privacy/HIPAA, Duty to Warn laws in Washington, or other medical-legal questions.
  • You need assistance satisfying Single Bed Certification requirements.
  • You want the PCL psychiatrist to review written records or assist with behavioral care plans.
  • You would like us to directly talk to the patient, family or friends of the patient. The PCL line is available only to health care professionals who are in a provider-patient relationship with the patient.