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Counseling services in Winona transfers to Catholic Charities

March 9, 2021

Cardinal Update News Newsletters Undergrad Student Information Wellness Center

The health and well-being of our students is a top priority for Saint Mary’s and foundational to our strategic plan, “Building a Future Full of Hope 2025.” To that end, after much planning and conversation, we have contracted with Catholic Charities to manage counseling services for students at the Jay Johnson Wellness Center beginning immediately.

This change provides several benefits for our students including:

  • Access to a broad network of professional care and comprehensive services.
  • More counselor availability. Catholic Charities will take over administrative responsibilities, thereby freeing up more hours for counseling services.
  • Reliable continuation of care, particularly in an emergency, with coverage when one of our counselors is unavailable or on vacation.
  • Access to additional resources.

Selective outsourcing allows us to focus better on our educational mission while maintaining quality and service standards. Our experience outsourcing the bookstore, food services, and security services universitywide showcases our ability to execute successful transitions. As vice president of Student Affairs, I will continue to oversee and work closely with this area and Health Services, which will not be affected by this change.

Below are some answers to questions you may have.

Why Catholic Charities?
Catholic Charities is part of a national network. It is respected, licensed, and provides confidential counseling and mental health services that address a wide range of needs. The counselors are committed to promoting physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being to all, regardless of age, ethnic/cultural background, faith/non-faith tradition, or economic circumstance.

Will students experience a difference in services?
We anticipate added benefits to students, including more counseling hours (with administrative duties moving to Catholic Charities), access to a national network, and uninterrupted service with alternative counselors available when someone is out of the office. 

How many counselors will be available at Saint Mary’s?
One full-time counselor will hold regular office hours on campus (Kat Freihammer), and an additional counselor (through Catholic Charities) will be available for both counseling on campus and teleconferencing. After the pandemic, we hope to increase the number of counselors on campus.

Where will counselors be located?
Counselors will mostly be continuing telecounseling during this pandemic. When they see students face-to-face, it will continue to be at the Jay Johnson Wellness Center in Winona.

Will we be sharing counselors with the downtown offices?
The counselor assigned to Saint Mary’s will not rotate to different locations so that students will build trusting relationships with their counselors.

Does this affect Health Services?
Health Services will not change.

What will happen with the current counseling staff?
She will remain a Saint Mary’s University employee.

Who does Catholic Charities serve?
These therapists welcome all students, regardless of age, gender, ethnic background, or faith tradition. Read their mission and vision.

Will these services extend to the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs?
Not at this time.

Where is this organization located?
Catholic Charities is part of a national network. Our partner is Catholic Charities of Southern Minnesota (Winona – Rochester).