In light of IV: “Mental illness starts early in life.”

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One UCSB organization created their own mental health awareness campaign this year. The ADMHS plans to follow suit. Photo: Destigmatize Counseling

In light of the one year anniversary of the tragedy in Isla Vista, our 5-part series captures the pulse of the community one year later.

While talking with Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown about what has been done to make IV a safer place, he mentioned that alongside new laws regarding gun checks and restraining orders, a societal change in the way we look at mental health is needed.

How can we address potentially dangerous mental illness without stigmatizing it? To take on that question, Alice Gleghorn, the director of Santa Barbara County’s Department of Alcohol, Drugs, and Mental Health Services visited our studio.

Despite hefty financial troubles, and possibly more to come, The ADMHS has been able to scrounge up state awarded grant money to improve and expand their services:

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A draft of ADMHS materials that will hit the three college campuses in June. Graphic: ADMHS
  • Outreach and awareness programs on college campuses have begun at UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College. The campaign is meant to make friends and peers more aware of warning symptoms, as they’re often the closest to someone who needs help in college.
  • The county’s first crisis stabilization unit is now under construction and set to open in November, serving as a resource for those suffering a mental health emergency. The program will accommodate up to eight individuals daily for stays up to 23 hours. Services will include assessments, peer counseling, referrals for continued treatment, emergency medications, nursing assessment and access to psychiatric consultation.
  • Crisis triage teams have been established in Santa Barbara, Lompoc and Santa Maria. These teams provide field-based response in crisis situations that do not meet the criteria for a “5150” hold – an individual is a danger to self, gravely disabled or a danger to others.

Stay tuned to KCRW on 88.7 fm mornings and afternoons as our series continues. Or follow the series here.