Jerry Girard and Heidi Peterson are licensed counselors in the Student Wellness department at Montana Western. Girard has been with UMW since 2010 and is the Director of Student Counseling and Peterson joined the team as a student counselor in 2017. Girard and Peterson serve students through confidential, professional relationships that empowers students to accomplish mental health, wellness, education and career goals by overcoming personal obstacles.
When Montana Western and the rest of the nation was adapting this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Girard and Peterson knew that it was critical to keep counseling services available to students as they navigate the uncertainty of a global pandemic. Fortunately, Student Counseling Services had already expanded its offerings, offering remote eCounseling services starting in January 2019 so that distant and online learners could have access. This made the transition seamless and provided all Montana Western students with access to eCounseling resources right away.
“When schools started to transition to remote delivery, we were the only university in the Montana University System that was already providing virtual counseling services,” Girard said.
Girard and Peterson were pleased to see the amount of students that adopted the remote eCounseling services so quickly, noting that there was little drop off in the number of students they typically see. Peterson attributes this to the culture UMW has established around its counseling services.
“Montana Western is so great because everyone here really supports the counseling services. Faculty, staff, and other students often refer our services to others on campus because we’re all here to help each other,” Peterson stated.
Girard and Peterson provided some quick tips for supporting your mental health during the new normal. First, take care of your body. Try and eat nutritious meals, exercise frequently and get enough sleep. Take a break from social media and television to give your mind a break. Lastly, stay connected to your important relationships and always reach out whenever you need to talk.
If you would like to make an eCounseling or in-person appointment you can contact:
- Jerry Girard at (406) 683-7181, or email [email protected]
- Heidi Peterson at (406) 683-7180, or email [email protected]
To learn more, visit the Student Counseling Services webpage.