Community Wellness Team adds California HOPE 805

Community Wellness Team adds California HOPE 805 title=
Community Wellness Team adds California HOPE 805
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Source: County of Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness has added California HOPE 805 as the newest member of its Community Wellness Team, which was established in early December to support the wellness of our community in response to the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow.  Services provided include crisis counseling, grief/bereavement counseling, psychological first aid, spiritual care, first responder critical incident stress debriefing, and short and long-term counseling to intensive outpatient care offered through Cottage Health.

The California HOPE 805 Team operates out of the Montecito Center for Preparedness, Recovery, and Rebuilding with the purpose of engaging individuals and encouraging them to talk about their experiences while teaching ways to manage stress.

“The impact of a natural disaster in a community can carry a spectrum of psychological responses,” explains Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT, Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer for the County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness. “Since our community was hit twice by natural disaster in a short period of time, we can expect the struggle of coming to terms with the impact to be real and the healing process to take time.”

California HOPE 805 supports community members by: understanding their current situation and reactions, mitigating stress, providing assistance in reviewing disaster recovery options, promoting the use or development of coping strategies, providing emotional support, and encouraging linkages with other people and agencies who may help in their recovery process. California HOPE 805 can routinely be found at local coffee shops, libraries, home improvement stores, community events, shopping centers and in impacted neighborhoods.

Grimmesey notes that common symptoms of stress experienced in response to trauma include anxiety, sadness or depression.  Challenges may be noticed in sleep, concentration, work or in relationships. “Children, adults, families, schools, business owners have all felt the impact,” Grimmesey says. “Fortunately, help is available.”

California HOPE 805 and the broader Community Wellness team has bilingual capacity and is available to help with coping strategies, support healing and build resilience. More information can be found on ReadySBC.org under Health and Safety.

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