Blog Series: Well-being and Resilience During the Pandemic

Voices from the Field

Voices from the Field is a seven-part blog series that focuses the reader on the spiritual, physical, and mental wellness of providers responding to the global health pandemic. In this series you will learn techniques that leaders and behavioral health providers have incorporated to address the needs of the people they serve. These stories also describe their efforts to support their own well-being. The series includes voices from leaders serving Region 8 states including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Finding Resiliency "In the Moment"

February 9, 2021

Lindsey McCarthy is the executive director of Southern Plains Behavioral Health Services, based in Winner, SD. Being "in the moment" with all she does, being kind to others, and injecting a dose of fun into monthly all-hands meetings have contributed to building resiliency in McCarthy and her team.

Setting Goals and Celebrating Success

February 16, 2021

Laura Schmid-Pizzato is the manager of recovery services at Southwest Counseling Services, in Sweetwater County, WY. She utilizes goals to facilitate growth in both herself and her staff, and builds resiliency by recognizing the positives in any situation.

Enhancing Well-Being Through Faith

February 23, 2021

John Ahola is a chaplain at Altru Health System in Grand Forks, ND. Chaplains are a pillar of support, emotionally and spiritually, for patients, patients' family members, and hospital staff. Ahola describes the "Blessing of the Hands" ceremony, which includes a short prayer or words of thanks and affirmation.

Improving Mental Health with Physical Activity

March 2, 2021

Jacki Hillios is the deputy executive director for The Phoenix, a sober community with a focus on physical activity based in Denver, CO. Hope, connections, and putting one foot in front of the other are the three ideas that Hillios and The Phoenix use to promote well-being.

Practicing Compassion by Listening

March 9, 2021

Phil Ackerman is a priest at Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo, ND. Father Ackerman transitioned from a small, rural parish to one of the largest in the state in the midst of the global health pandemic. He practices compassionate listening to share in the pain and frustration of churchgoers during this crisis.

Recharging Empathy via Self-Care

March 17, 2021

Kara Cunningham is a clinical director for Four Corners Behavioral Health in Price, Utah. Carbon County, where Cunningham lives and works, is among the hardest hit nationwide by opioid overdose deaths. She recharges her capacity for caring through physical exercise and building community relationships.

Valuing Community Connectedness

March 24, 2021

Robe Walker lives in the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana. Walker has served in many roles, including teacher, counselor, emergency medical responder, and artist. Implementing creative ways to keep his community connected during the pandemic has been a top priority for Walker, even as he battled with COVID-19. Read a poem by Robe Walker!

Blog Developers

  • Connor Murphy
  • Thomasine Heitkamp


Structured interviews were conducted by freelance writer, Connor Murphy, and then transformed into individual stories of resilience. Oversight of the series was provided by Thomasine Heitkamp, former PI and Co-Director of the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center and the Mountain Plains Addiction Technology Transfer Center.

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