Tag Archives: mental wellness

Mental Health Awareness Doesn’t End in May for the Mental Wellness Center

Throughout the pandemic, many people who had never experienced mental health challenges found themselves struggling for the first time. If you found that the pandemic impacted your mental health, you are not alone.

In November 2020, the CDC reported that 44% of us were experiencing either depression or anxiety. And of the almost half a million individuals that took a mental health screening at mhascreening.org, 79% showed symptoms of moderate to severe anxiety.

This past year has challenged us all, testing our strength and resiliency. Hope is on the horizon.

During the month of May, the Mental Wellness Center and the rest of the country came together and focused on raising awareness of the importance of mental health.

THANK YOU for celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month with us. And remember – mental health awareness doesn’t stop in May, and should be recognized and prioritized every day because right now, mental health has never been more important.

As the Mental Wellness looks to the future, we have hope. Join the Mental Wellness Center this summer, along with our wonderful community partners, as we raise awareness of mental health in our community.

Save the Date for the 2nd Annual Peace of Mind Fundraiser with Alma Rosa Winery on Saturday, July 24, 2021 at Alma Rosa’s 628-acre estate, located north of Santa Barbara near Buellton. This fundraiser helped the Mental Wellness Center raise more than $70,000 last year and we are so thankful to Alma Rosa Winery for their continued support of our organization. Registration opens soon, visit mentalwellnesscenter.org/peaceofmind to learn more! 

And, in celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, 10% of all proceeds from Alma Rosa’s May sales will directly benefit the Mental Wellness Center. Shop online today and support our organization! 

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is a comprehensive, online training that teaches educators, family members, and caregivers (18+ years old) how to approach, assess, and assist a young person with a mental health challenge or substance use concern.

YMHFA is offered monthly throughout Santa Barbara County and is available in both English and Spanish. The classes are provided by Family Service Agency, Mental Wellness Center, and the Youthwell Coalition. Free online trainings will be offered from 9AM-2PM on the following dates: June 3, June 15, July 8, July 20, August 10, and August 19. To learn more and register, please visit: bethedifferencesb.org.

Healthy People Healthy Trails Supports Mental Wellness in our Community

We all know that going out for a walk is good for our physical health, but it doesn’t stop there. Research shows that getting outside in nature has many mental health benefits as well. Walking has been proven effective in reducing anxiety and depression, and there is further evidence that walking in nature improves those results even further. That’s because different parts of our brain activate in nature. Our mind calms, leading to physical changes including a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. But don’t think you have to hike a mountain to feel the results. Spending time outside at a park or any green space can have the same effect. Even if it’s only for a few minutes during a lunch break, getting out in nature can positively impact your mental health. 

Healthy People Healthy Trails (HPHT) is an innovative program designed to strengthen the connection between the use of local public parks and trails and individual healthcare. The program is supported by a dynamic group of community partners including local doctors and health care providers, trail advocates and stewards, land managers, and the National Park Service. The Mental Wellness Center is proud to support Healthy People, Healthy Trails! Healthy People Healthy Trails offers a set of maps with easy local walking routes. Browse the website and choose a trail that is right for you. We hope you find the maps useful and the trails enjoyable!

Being in nature is good for the body and mind. Join the Spring Healthy People Healthy Trails Challenge and sign-up and pledge to be active outdoors. Each time you submit your outdoor activity you are entered into a drawing for the chance to win monthly prizes. Visit www.healthypeoplehealthytrails.org and join the Spring Challenge today! 

And please remember, you are not alone; the Mental Wellness Center is always here for you. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health resources and support, please connect with us today at: www.mentalwellnesscenter.org or by giving us a call at 805-884-8440.

Changing Course

For nearly 75 years, the aim of Santa Barbara’s Mental Wellness Center has been to help adults living with mental illness live their best life. By providing numerous practical services including affordable housing sites and a social center called the Fellowship Club, they provide a connection to essential resources.

Twenty years ago a major revelation led to the addition of a new way of addressing mental health and the aim to prevent the impact of untreated mental illness. The decision to address early intervention through education became an imperative when the CEO, Annmarie Cameron, learned a startling fact. Fifty percent of all mental illness has its onset of symptoms by age fourteen,” Cameron says. “Young people need to know that while mental illness can feel frightening, it doesn’t need to be. Like diabetes, asthma, or any medical issue, mental illness can be treated.”

Our mental health care system is built on a model that waits for a crisis to identify the illness. By giving young people basic facts about mental illness, and strategies for self-care of their own mental health we expect to improve the chances that a crisis is avoidable.

The Mental Wellness Center is betting on young people. Across three privately funded programs, the Mental Wellness Center is reaching thousands of local youth and their families.

Mental Health Matters is an original program developed by the Mental Wellness Center’s Education Committee. It introduces basic facts about mental health to elementary, middle and high school students. The underlying premise is that with understanding, youth will know to seek help should they or someone they know experience symptoms of a possible mental health disorder, knowing that early treatment tends to lead to better outcomes. In 2019, 18 trained volunteers delivered the Mental Health Matters curriculum in more than 50 classrooms throughout Santa Barbara County.

The positive feedback about Mental Health Matters received from students, parents, and teachers is reaffirming of this program. Parents report that their families are impacted by mental health issues and need a way to talk about them that isn’t scary or stigmatized. 

Ten years ago, the Mental Wellness Center joined a growing national and international movement to widely teach the general public basic skills for Mental Health First Aid. Targeted versions of this program reach those who work with young people and youth themselves.

In January 2020, the Mental Wellness Center participated in a pilot of teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA), the first of its kind developed for high school students in the U.S. tMHFA is designed for high school students to identify and respond to a mental health or substance use problem among their peers.“ My dream is that the teen Mental Health First Aid program is in every high school,” said Born this Way Foundation’s co-founder, Lady Gaga, who funded the national pilot initiative.

The Wellness Connection Council (WCC) is the newest program of the Mental Wellness Center. The WCC is a high school leadership program that educates, empowers and engages students who raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health by promoting self-care, kindness through connection, prevention, education, and outreach amongst their peers. In fall of 2020, the WCC welcomed 60 local high school students to their leadership council from high schools throughout Santa Barbara County. 

“I see this as our future,” Cameron says. “We will always provide essential services for adults that live with mental illness and we will educate young people and empower a new generation to seek support and prioritize their own mental health.” 

1 in 5 youth and young adults live with a mental health condition and right now, mental health has never been more important. If you share in Cameron and the Mental Wellness Center’s youth-driving vision, donate today.