Suicide Attempt Survivors Support Group Now Forming

This is an opportunity for individuals who’ve made a suicide attempt to join with others to meet safely, share thoughts/feelings, develop new coping methods, learn about community resources, and to discuss and learn alternative ways to ease the pain.  The group is for adults (18 or older) and will be facilitated by a licensed clinician and a peer mentor.  It’s anticipated that the group begin with an open session on Tuesday November 6 after which the subsequent 7 Tuesday sessions in the cycle will be closed.  The group will meet at the New Beginnings Center, 155 Granada St, Suite N, in Camarillo (just off Southbound Carmen Dr. Exit from 101).  Each session will cost $55 (sliding scale available), which is reimbursable by most PPO insurance plans.  Plans are to offer this 8 session group on a recurring basis with future dates to be announced.  For more information or schedule an intake consultation by phone, contact Grant La Vigna, MFT, (805) 987-3162, ext.3 or

Our Local NAMI Completes Re-affiliation Process with NAMI National and NAMI CA

NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County received confirmation recently that its application for re-affiliation with our national and state organization has been approved.  This caps a two year long process during which our affiliate had to develop by-laws, obtain our own 501 c3 (non-profit org.) status as well as meet a number of other requirements set by the National NAMI Board to ensure that every NAMI affiliate meets the highest standards for conduct for non-profit organizations.  This process involved countless hours of work by local NAMI members, chiefly our Secretary, Cesli Vierra, by Mental Wellness Center Staff, including Ramona Winner and Pauline Keeble, and by our attorneys, Mullen & Henzell who provided their services at a much reduced rate.  All NAMI state and local affiliates must complete this process by December 31, 2018 or be dis-affiliated.  Completion of this process will ensure a strong and properly operated NAMI at the local, state and national levels.  The Mental Wellness Center will continue to both host our local NAMI, provide financial support, and we will continue to do joint fundraising. 

Behavioral Wellness Department News of interest to Families

Coordinated Entry Program helps persons find housing
The Coordinated Entry Program is a housing resource for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness  Several entry points with walk-in hours are available in Santa Barbara at PATH, Salvation Army-Hospitality House and for Veterans at the Veteran’s Memorial Building. These are resource centers for obtaining housing and other needed resources. Regional Entry Points have limited walk-in hours available. Walk-in appointments are available on a first come, first served basis. There is an initial assessment of severity of housing need. Contact PATH, Salvation Army, or Veterans Memorial Building for additional information.

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT or Laura’s Law) for seriously ill persons who refuse treatment.  
The Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) program provides court ordered outpatient treatment for adults living with a serious mental illness who are experiencing repeated crisis events and refuse to engage in treatment on a voluntary basis. Among the many positive features of the AOT program are that of an extended program of gentle engagement of folks wherever they are. Measured engagement data shows that two-fifths of people referred to AOT (42%) have accepted voluntary treatment and have not needed court interventions. Families have provided 64% of referrals to this excellent resource, per the recent annual report.  To inquire, contact the Access Line 888-868-1649 and ask for the AOT program.

Santa Barbara NAMI Members Help in Police Training on Mental Health Crisis Management

On August 22nd, our NAMI affiliate took part in the Sheriff Department’s week-long Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT) Academy that teaches law enforcement officers and custody deputies how to defuse encounters with persons in mental health crisis while avoiding violence.  Common tactics involve remaining at a distance to avoid startling or riling the person, attempting to persuade instead of demanding compliance, and posing open-ended questions to nurture conversation.  Implementation of CIT training has been a top priority for NAMI nationally, in California and locally since its inception in the Memphis, TN police force in 1989.  Our local NAMI affiliate’s Public Policy Committee was instrumental in ensuring ongoing funding for staffing and implementation of CIT through its advocacy to our Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Department which recently funded a full time mental health clinician position to help implement CIT training.

The highlight of our presentation was a panel of consumers and family members who shared their stories with class members, as well as their paths to recovery.  At lunch, we interacted further with deputies, probation officers, and mental health professionals, hearing about their experiences, and why they have committed to de-escalating crisis encounters.  

Thanks to Michelle Williams, Michael Cox, Don Casebolt, Jan Winter, George Kaufmann, and Lynne Gibbs for their participation on the NAMI panel.

*Click for more information: How CIT Works