mental illness

Guest Writer Barbara, Tips While Waiting for Housing

At the Mental Wellness Center, we understand that housing is important.  It is one of those things that, if you have it, you rarely think about it.  If you don’t, you’re almost always thinking about it.  Housing in Santa Barbara can be challenging because there is not enough housing and what there is typically goes to those who have the means to afford it.  

 However, people do get housed every day, and there are programs such as Section 8 and tax credit that help those who have fewer means.  Section 8 is governed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered locally through housing authorities.  The vouchers are either project-based or portable (i.e., personal), and typically allow a person to pay 30 percent of his or her income for rent.  A tax credit program is predicated on where a person’s income falls in predetermined levels of “area median income” and if he or she meets other criteria (like a job in the downtown area) to pay reduced rent.

If you have housing, I urge you to care for it well.  Follow the rules even when moving out - this will help you to get housing in the future.  If you are waiting for housing, here are some tips:

·         Never give up and never take having to wait for an opening as a personal reflection - it’s usually just a matter of timing and luck.  You never know when things will change - only that, at some point, they will!

·         Apply for as many different options as you find personally acceptable.  For example, there are more opportunities outside of the downtown Santa Barbara area, and if you can use the bus or have a car, they might be worth considering.

·         Work on the skills that you will need to live in any neighborhood.  

o        These include taking care of your health and managing your physical and mental symptoms as much as possible.  For example, if anxiety challenges you, consider talking with your doctor about medication, finding a good therapist (possibly somebody who is versed in cognitive-behavioral therapy), and/or taking a symptom self-management course such as Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP).

o        Learn to budget your finances so that you can pay for what is your housing-related responsibility, which typically includes rent, repairs caused by other than normal wear and tear, and cleaning.  If financial management is a weakness, work with somebody to learn how to do it yourself or have somebody else become your payee and manage your money for you.  

o        Care for your belongings and maintain your personal space in a clean and safe manner.  Perfection is not required, but understand that you have a responsibility to a standard for yourself, for others in the complex, and to the landlord.  Also, if you obtain a Section 8 voucher, you will have to agree to periodic inspections.

o        Practice being civil.  You don’t have to be extra kind or go out of your way for others, but use your manners and try to recognize other people’s points of view.

 

The Mental Wellness Center has six (soon to be seven!) housing projects.  Two of them, the Garden Street Apartments (mainly for single adults) and the Eleanor Apartments (more for families) are open to applications.  However, be advised that the wait lists are long.  The other housing projects - three adult residential facilities and a home with room rentals - can only be accessed through referrals by Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness staff.

Written by Barbara Schreibke

Quilts for a Cause

Jessica Steele, counselor for California 805, helping collect quilts for individuals who

lost their homes in the Thomas Fire and debris flow.

California 805 is a program being administered by the Mental Wellness Center of Santa

Barbra in collaboration with the county of Santa Barbra Department of Behavioral

Wellness and funded by FEMA to assist the Santa Barbara community in recovering

from the impacts of the Thomas Fire and 19 Debris Flow through community outreach.

Over 1000 quilts have been distributed since December 2017, and the honor of piecing

these quilts together goes to the Ventura Modern Quilters Guild. With contributions of

quilting pieces received from across the United States and 13 countries around the

world, the Quilters Guild has produced inspiring works of art that may comfort and serve

as a reminder to all that we will not forget those affected by tragedy.

The gift of a quilt is so much more than just receiving a blanket. One survivor had

described it, “Everytime I look at my quilt, the support and love of strangers is present

and strong, and every time I use it, I picture hugs from everyone who came together to

make it.”

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Friday Films with Ramona

 
Friday Films with Ramona at the Mental Wellness Center. We are located in Santa Barbara, California. The Mental Wellness Center is the non-profit organization that recognizes mental illness is a community matter affecting us all. Providing education and support, we are dedicated to meeting the immediate and future needs of our Youth, Adults, Families, and the greater Community.
 

Learn How You Can Contribute to our Holiday Celebration featuring Santa!


My name is Nick Papageorge and I am the Program Manager of The Fellowship Club.

It is once again time to begin preparing for our Annual Holiday Celebration and I invite you to participate! The past two years have been amazing successes and we plan on continuing the trend!

I have begun distributing the Santa Cards to our members and will have the first batch available by the end of the week! Secret Santa’s take one or more Wish Cards and purchase a gift of $20 or less based on the options. They drop off the gifts in holiday wrap along with the form so that staff can get the right gift to the right person. The last day to sign up this year to be a Secret Santa is November 15. 

Our Holiday Celebration is, for many, the only holiday party and gift exchange they experience every year. The Members typically ask for practical gifts which they will use on a daily basis. It is truly a joyous time for them. My staff and I really enjoy seeing the members open their gifts and the gratitude and joy that follows.  

Personally, I think of The Fellowship Club as a second family and I believe many of our members do as well. My staff and I are immersed in the members’ lives and vice-versa. We are all invested in each other while on this journey to recovery together. 

If you are able to help, please contact me so that I can get you a wish card for one or a group of members, we will all be very grateful!  

 

For any questions or to request Santa Cards, please contact Nick at 884-8440 x3351 or npapageorge@mentalwellnesscenter.org

Guest Writer Nick, Annual Holiday Celebration featuring Santa!


My name is Nick Papageorge and I am the Program Manager of The Fellowship Club.

It is once again time to begin preparing for our Annual Holiday Celebration and I invite you to participate! The past two years have been amazing successes and we plan on continuing the trend!

I have begun distributing the Santa Cards to our members and will have the first batch available by the end of the week! Secret Santa’s take one or more Wish Cards and purchase a gift of $20 or less based on the options. They drop off the gifts in holiday wrap along with the form so that staff can get the right gift to the right person. The last day to sign up this year to be a Secret Santa is November 15. 

Our Holiday Celebration is, for many, the only holiday party and gift exchange they experience every year. The Members typically ask for practical gifts which they will use on a daily basis. It is truly a joyous time for them. My staff and I really enjoy seeing the members open their gifts and the gratitude and joy that follows.  

Personally, I think of The Fellowship Club as a second family and I believe many of our members do as well. My staff and I are immersed in the members’ lives and vice-versa. We are all invested in each other while on this journey to recovery together. 

If you are able to help, please contact me so that I can get you a wish card for one or a group of members, we will all be very grateful!  

 

For any questions or to request Santa Cards, please contact Nick at 884-8440 x3351 or npapageorge@mentalwellnesscenter.org

Guest Writer Trevor, Why You Need to Examine Your Past to Understand Your Mental Health

This movie plot is so common that it’s almost cliché: The young bully with a troubled past creates adversity for the story’s hero.

This plot illustrates how someone’s past can impact their present. We see it in the bully and in the bullied. And if we look closely, we can also see it in ourselves.

Events from your past have contributed to the person you are today.

How the past molds your character

If you think about who you are today, can you really separate your past? Everything that has happened in your life up until now has helped shape who you are. This includes the good and the bad.

It’s possible to experience negative or even traumatic events without letting them control your life, but it’s not easy. And you may need help working through them.

The practice of letting go of hurt is much easier said than done, and it’s especially difficult for children. Children may be less likely to hold a grudge than adults, but that doesn’t mean they walk away unscathed. In fact, a traumatic childhood experience can send a child down a dark and dangerous path.

Children who experience traumatic events are more likely to experiment with teenage drug use and suffer from mental health disorders later in life.  

Trauma and depression

A 2013 University of Liverpool study found that traumatic life events are the single biggest cause of anxiety and depression. This means you’re more likely to experience depression or anxiety if you’ve experienced a traumatic event than if you have a family history of mental illness.

And if you experience a traumatic event and have a family history of mental illness, your risk of developing depression or anxiety may increase further.

What is a traumatic event?

It’s important to note that an event that’s traumatic for one person may not be so for another. For example, divorce may be traumatic for someone who never saw it as an option. For another person, divorce may seem commonplace.

There are other experiences that are likely to be traumatic for everyone. Rape or witnessing a murder are two extreme examples that are likely to impact anyone.

If you’ve experienced an event that has impacted your emotional wellbeing, don’t waste time worrying about whether it “should” or “shouldn’t” bother you. Instead, talk to a professional about how to work through your feelings.

How to examine your past

The best way to examine your past and its effect on your present is with a professional counselor. This is especially true if you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event, or if you suffer from addiction or depression.

If you don’t fall into any of the above categories, you may start exploring on your own. Begin with a walk down memory lane. Look at old photos and talk about things from your childhood. This may include old pets, relatives or friends that have had an impact on your life.

With memories fresh in your mind, think about the people who were most influential to you. Can you recall any negative events or conversations that may be haunting you to this day? If so, that may be something you need to work through.

You can also approach this from a different angle. Think about your biggest faults. Now, imagine where they could have begun. Was it a learned behavior from your parents? Is it some form of a coping mechanism? Or are you overcompensating for something? If you can find the root cause of these behaviors, you’ll find it easier to overcome them.

Regardless of what you’re experiencing today, it’s likely that your past plays some role. If you’re looking to improve your mental health, be prepared to talk about your past.

Authors Bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing and is currently writing for Sober Nation. He's written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or on Twitter.

The Growing Epidemic of Loneliness

Let’s Talk Mental Health

A place for support, intelligence, resources and recovery

 

  “During my years caring for Patients, the most common pathology I saw was not heart disease or diabetes; it was loneliness”

 

-Dr Vivek Murthy Former Surgeon General of the United States

How do you define Loneliness?  Look it up in the dictionary and see if you agree.  I find I don’t agree with Webster’s definition.

Would you be surprised to learn that most people who report feeling lonely are married or live with others and are not diagnosed with depression? According to a study conducted at the University of San Francisco in 2012 this is true.1   We know feelings of loneliness are subjective. There is a difference between feeling lonely, being alone and seeking solitude.

We feel lonely if our relationships do not provide emotional connection and meaning. Think about the gap that lies between what you desire and what you experience in your relationships with others.  I think that’s where you find loneliness.

 Desire                       Experience

Most of us have a basic need to know and be known and be part of a community.  When we are not connected to others and want to be we experience loneliness.

Think about these 5 Aspects of Loneliness.

  1. Family and relational ties

  2. Friendships

  3. Romantic Relationships

  4. Spiritual

  5. Self

Spiritual loneliness and “self” loneliness we can do something about.  We can work on our spirituality and work on self-acceptance for instance.  And what if those aspects of our life improved and our relationship with others improved as a result of that work?? AHA!  

The next time you experience painful feelings of loneliness, listen to them. Investigate them and express them.  Loneliness is valid; it’s okay to feel it we all do. And you can do something about it.

Your Friend,

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Mari  RNC BSN

Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse