From introducing mindfulness and brain breaks to being the coordinator of the Peer Educators program to being a reliable listening ear to all, Ms. Gerwin has become a friendly face in our Mercy community. After four years as our school guidance counselor, Ms. Gerwin is leaving to pursue her dream of working on her own private therapy practice. I sat down with her for her last Shield interview, as she shared her favorite parts of Mercy, her hopes for mental health programs at Mercy, and her invaluable words of self compassion and self understanding that all should hear.
Why did you make the decision to leave now, and what are your hopes for your new practice?
Ms. Gerwin: I decided to leave now, because I have been working at my private practice for counseling for 2 years part time, so in addition to working at Mercy, I have been seeing clients for therapy in the evenings. My practice has gotten to the point where it only makes sense to go full time with it. Counseling has been something that I’m truly what passionate about and enjoy. My hope for my new practice is to be able to find ways to help people be more self compassionate, to help people find what they love to do, and to integrate mindfulness and nature into my therapeutic work.
What has been your favorite Mercy memory?
Ms. Gerwin: This is more of a general memory, rather than a specific one, but I have really enjoyed the little things— walking through the halls everyday, getting to know students, saying good morning to everyone, and seeing everyone’s smiles in our daily interactions.
Any mental health programs you wanted to implement at Mercy/any goals you had, but never got the chance to accomplish?
Ms. Gerwin: So many! I would love to have students learn mental health first aid and for there to be classes for mental health first aid. I would like to do more with mindfulness. There were so many more topics that I wanted to dive into, but I feel confident that Ms. Mustillo and Dr. Wharton will do great job implementing the programs that need to be implemented.
What is your hope for the future of mental health advocacy and programs at Mercy and the Peer Educators program at Mercy?
Ms. Gerwin: My hope for the Peer Educators is that they will be able to go into classes more often and into seminars. I hope that the presence of Peer Educators becomes a more regular thing that the student body is used to. I also hope that the Peer Educators can find topics that are pertinent to the Mercy community (what the real issues are) and are able create programs around them (how we could combat these issues).
What will you miss most about Mercy?
Ms. Gerwin: I will miss all the people and the community as a whole the most— the students, staff, and the rest of the faculty.
Any parting words to the students of Mercy?
Ms. Gerwin: I would say to really get to know yourself and to not worry too much about what you feel like you should be doing during the next step of life. Trust me; all the next steps will fall into place. Get to know what you really love and base your decisions off your passions, rather than basing your decisions off what others tell you to do or what others think you should do. Above all, know yourself and who you are and trust what you’re passionate about to guide you through life.
We wish Ms. Gerwin the best of luck at her new practice and hope to see her back next year as a guest speaker!