Student Health & Counseling
COVID-19 UPDATE: This is a challenging time and many of us are feeling stress or anxiety. United Healthcare is offering a free emotional-support helpline for all students through Optum, one of their subsidiary companies. Their 24/7 toll-free helpline number, 866-342-6892, is free of charge and open to any student. Our counselors, Dawn Bjork-Pedersen and Lisa Wagoner are also available to help students.
Ridgewater College recognizes the relationship between personal development, emotional wellness, health and wellness, and success in academic pursuits.
Our counseling program is designed to support and assist students who have personal issues which impede their academic progress by offering crisis intervention, brief solution-oriented counseling, and referrals to other agencies, services, or professionals in the community.
We offer a variety of health resource links to students as well as a health fair on each campus.
There is no fee charged to Ridgewater students for counseling services.
- Can I go to a counselor even if I feel my problem isn't that big?
- Don't people with serious mental health problems go to counselors?
While counseling does deal with people who have emotional problems, it can also help:
- Students choose a program major or career path
- Relationships that are experiencing conflict or misunderstandings
- Individuals having academic problems, learning difficulties, or test anxiety
- Individuals who are having thoughts of suicide or other self-destructive behaviors
- Students trying to adjust to new surroundings or homesickness
- Feelings of low self-esteem
- How can a counselor help me with my problems?
- Can I see a counselor for any kind of problem, or must it only be school related?
You can bring any problem that is bothering you to the counselor. Even if a problem originates outside of college, it can easily have an effect on your ability to concentrate on school work or class attendance. If the counselor feels that she does not have expertise in that area, she will make a referral to the appropriate off-campus office or agency.
- Will seeing a counselor fix my problems?
The counselor cannot “fix” your problem – only you can. However, the counselor helps you to change your thinking process, seek alternatives, or learn skills so that you can find a solution.
- How can someone help me who hasn't experience my problem or is of the same background?
Counselors are trained to be sensitive to and respectful of individual differences, including the specific concerns of students with regard to gender, racial/ethnic, cultural, religious, age, sexual preference/orientation, and socioeconomic issues. While problems are as unique as the people experiencing them, the feelings and emotions that people experience and the skills needed to solve problems are universal.
- Will anyone find out if I see a counselor?
The Counseling Office is committed to respecting your privacy. When you stop or call for an appointment, you will be asked the nature of your visit because the counselors see people for a variety of reasons, e.g. withdrawing from a course or from college, academic planning, career assessment, etc. This helps them to determine the length of the appointment. When asked, you simply say “personal counseling” and that will give the secretaries the information they need. The discussion with the counselor is strictly confidential unless it is determined that you or someone else is at personal bodily risk. The counselor must get your permission before discussing your situation with an instructor or administrator.