Meet Ross Beattie: School of Nursing Embedded Mental Health Provider

Ross Beattie

Ross Beattie,  MS, LPC-IT, is the Embedded Mental Health Provider for the School of Nursing. He also works part-time as a Generalist provider for University Health Services. Ross graduated from Winona State University with a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. He particularly enjoys working with students in areas of life transitions, grief, anxiety, depression, and all the related stressors that go with being a college student. 

What is your approach to care?

I follow a person-centered approach to allow a person to feel comfortable and validated throughout the counseling relationship. I also utilize approaches from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Interventions.

I like to collaborate with clients to determine their goals and expectations for what they would like to accomplish in counseling. Often, I find that giving a person space and time to process is enough to get the ball rolling, particularly for folks who are new to counseling and may have fears or misconceptions about what counseling is.

Ross Beattie standing in front of water with his bike.
In his free time, Ross enjoys biking and running.

What do you hope students will take away from sessions with you?

I hope that students will walk away feeling heard, validated, and felt comfortable while in session. I work hard to offer a space for all students to come and talk about any issues they may be facing. I find it important to remind people that we are all facing stressors and hardships and that we don’t have to face them alone.

What is your favorite thing to do in Madison or your favorite campus tradition?

I love the restaurants and community events that happen in Madison. I think there are stark differences when comparing summer Madison vs. winter Madison. During the summer, I love cycling and enjoying the beautiful areas in and around Madison. As I only moved to Madison last year, I am still learning more about the area and what it offers.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Growing up, I had two different answers when asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Ironically, my answers mainly changed between “therapist” and “nurse” depending on the day. It is such foreshadowing that I get to work with future nurses while working as a therapist provider — truly fulfilling my childhood career ambition.

At one point, I was a nursing major and even completed my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. Although nursing is a great career, I was ultimately drawn to a career as a mental health counselor.

One reason nursing appealed to me was because I have so many nurses in my life, including friends and family. I always really looked up to them and the profession and loved hearing about their work.

The experience of becoming a CNA in high school felt very influential. I recall receiving feedback from the nurse who ran our CNA program saying something to the effect of, “You’re doing really well, but you have to be quicker in your communication/time with patients and remember you’ll have more than one person you’ll be working with when you start working as a nursing assistant.”

In retrospect, this was a clue that my skills in building relationships with people 1:1 were better served as a therapist.

Ross, his husband Jonathan, and their dog Jackson.
Ross with his husband Jonathan and their dog Jackson.

What drew you to a career in mental health?

What drew me to a career in mental health was my ability to listen and give space for processing to people who need it. I find it truly gratifying to see how people can make growth and changes just by having another person to talk to.

What is a mental health tool you wish more people would use in their lives?

Mindfulness techniques. I think we all have thoughts or images that may come to our mind when we hear the word mindfulness. People may think mindfulness needs to look a certain way (e.g., meditation, structured techniques, yoga). Although that can be true, I often advocate for simple, unstructured techniques that we can use in our daily lives.

While I was doing Dialectical Behavioral Therapy training (a type of therapy with components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Interventions), I recall our trainer stating, “Anything can be mindfulness.” This could include washing your hands, making your bed, bringing awareness to your breathing, using your five senses to ground yourself, etc. The goal is to take moments to ground your mind and body to be more present. I acknowledge that this can take practice and isn’t always a “one size fits all” technique.

Another more structured resource is an app developed by the UW Center for Health Minds. This free app is available to students and goes more in-depth about mindfulness techniques and wellness.

What role do you see nurses playing in health care in the next 100 years?

I hope to see growth within the profession of nursing over the next 100 years. I believe we have been in a shift in society where we’re talking more about mental health and seeking resources to help take better care of ourselves. I hope to see nurses continue to advocate for themselves in all aspects of their profession (e.g., mental health resources). Nurses are vital in a variety of settings, and I believe we will continue to see the profession expand to new areas that may go beyond traditional bedside care.