Our Local Hero!

The Santa Barbara Independent’s Local Heroes of 2016

 Last week twenty local heroes were noted for their efforts in the community. Our very own Board member was named a Local Hero for her dedication to the Mental Health Matters program. Thank you, Ann!

Check out the spotlight below. See HERE for the full list of Heroes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016/ By Indy Staff

Inspired by her own mentally ill daughter, Ann Lippinncott — who spent 34 years at UCSB teaching teachers how to teach — treated a 6th grade curriculum to destigmatize mental illness. Lippincott emphasizes three startling but obvious truths: One in four families will experience a serious mental illness. For half of those afflicted, symptoms present by age 14. And the sooner the treatment, the better the outcome. There have been programs designed to teach mental-health awareness since 2000, but they’ve been lining the school district’s circular file because no teacher has any extra time to give to another subject. So Lippincott crafted a highly interactive curriculum on mental illness but packaged it as part of the state’s mandated Common Core program for English Language Arts. The program started in 2008, involving just one classroom and a handful of students. Today, it’s taught in 35 classes to about 1,000 students. When studying mental-health issues, 6th graders are taught to take notes, read texts, make oral presentations, work in teams, create posters, and, of course, use similes, such as — as one student put it — “having attention-deficit hyperactive disorder is like an ant farm in your head.” Students learn the symptoms for major mental illnesses and that they can affect anyone — not just the homeless. Lippincott and her group of dedicated volunteers stress that mental illness does not define who you are. “It’s not something you are,” she said. “It’s something you have.”