Adult Services & Programs

“(Optimum health) is an ongoing practice that requires awareness, knowledge, and practice.” ~ Dr. Andrew Weil

Mental illness can take a toll on individuals and their families. Although not every illness is long term or severe, it still affects the people who care about you and the way that you move through life. Recognizing how your mental health can affect you is an important first step toward wellness. The second step is getting knowledgeable, professional help. Treatment for mental health conditions exists, and it’s effective. The question is how to find it? How will you know it is effective? What can you do to live a healthier lifestyle? The Mental Wellness Center offers the following services at no or little cost to help you find these answers.

Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid is a dynamic 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It also teaches an action plan to use in a psychiatric emergency. The course fee is $45, which includes the course book and certification for three years upon passing. Scholarships are available. Help make Mental Health First Aid as common as CPR!

Why Does It Matter?

  • Sometimes people don’t know how to ask for help.

  • There is a suicide every 12.8 minutes. Let’s change this!

  • We can all be more aware & more informed.

Upcoming Dates: TBD

To sign up for a class or learn more, call 805-884-8440 or email

Community Wellness

The Community Wellness Program is a set of educational courses, interpersonal support groups, and activities related to mental health and overall wellness. Most activities are scheduled in the early evenings to accommodate busy day-time schedules. They are at our main building at 617 Garden Street. The activities are free of charge, and drop-ins are welcome. Please click on the Calendar for current offerings.

The Community Wellness Program is open to Santa Barbara County residents. We offer a range of free and or low-cost activities incorporating support, awareness, and understanding in a safe space of healing. The classes and activities listed below do not require pre-registration, and drop-ins are welcome. Come join us!

Activities for community audiences:

  • Spanish Family Support Group – conducted in Spanish and meeting once per week for people living with serious mental illness and adult family members. (contact to verify)

  • Education Family Discussion Group - features new topics weekly.

  • Family Support Group – weekly information and support for family caregivers of adult children.

  • Depression & Bipolar Support Group - a peer-run support group where people with mood disorders find comfort and direction in a confidential and supportive setting. Walk-ins welcome!

  • Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) is an evidence-based, self-directed prevention class that teaches tools for staying well.

  • Hearing Voices: A peer support group based firmly on an ethos of self-help, mutual respect and empathy. Facilitated by Catherine Birtalan.

Activities for young adults and their families:

  • Support for Parents of Teens (SPOT) – information and support shared by parents of teenagers and young adults with anxiety or depression. Please join us by calling our Family Advocate, Ramona Winner, at 805-884-8440 or emailing

  • Keeping Connected - For youth ages 14-18 to learn to better manage emotions and reactions in a fun, safe space. Facilitated by Isis Casteñeda.

Activities for Service Providers:

  • Lunch and Learns – brief opportunities for busy professionals to learn more about hot topics in mental health.

View our Calendar and the Events Page for up-to-date activities of the Community Wellness Program.

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Recovery Learning Center at the Fellowship Club

"A place TO BE who you are right now . . . and TO BECOME who you want to be." - Bob Tauber

Fellowship Club Calendar

The Fellowship Club

The Recovery Learning Center at the Fellowship Club (“Fellowship Club”) is a day program for adults living with serious mental illness. The Fellowship Club offers learning groups, activities, supported employment, daily nutritious lunches, recreational outings – and much more! The onsite store, the Care Closet, is staffed by club members and provides gently worn clothing and hygiene items for club members.

The all-peer staff experienced in mental health recovery, together with the graduate-level trainee and intern team, leads both group and individual activities each day for support and information. The Club’s greatest strength lies within the members and staff who together build a community for wellness.

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The Fellowship Club is open to adult residents (18 years and older) of Santa Barbara County who live with a mental illness. Club membership is free of charges, but members must submit a referral filled out and signed by a mental health professional who can attest to the candidate’s mental health condition.  Services are in English and Spanish.

To become a member:
Pick up an application and accompanying referral form at the club
617 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Open Monday to Friday 9am-3pm.
(Enter through blue gates to patio at side of building closest to Cota Street). Or download a referral form.

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Employment Services

"Having a purpose and contributing to one’s community is a vital part of mental health recovery." ~ Anonymous

The Mental Wellness Center’s Employment Services provides assistance to adults, 18 years and older, who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and are seeking competitive employment. A referral for service will be required for all program participants from the Department of Rehabilitation.

Please note: supported employment positions are available for members of the Recovery Learning Center at the Fellowship Club. Scroll up to the previous section to learn more about this program.

Employment Services achieved a prestigious three-year accreditation from the independent and nonprofit Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in early 2016. According to CARF, accreditation “signals a service provider's commitment to continually improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community.”

What this means for employees with mental health disabilities is quality and person-centered services that help find and keep work. What this means for business owners and employers is good outcomes in finding employees through MWC Employment Services.

What benefits exist for workers?
The staff of MWC Employment Services helps with every piece of the journey from creating a resume to transitioning into employment and thriving in the workplace. As an approved vendor of California’s Department of Rehabilitation, the Mental Wellness Center helps clients keep benefits and make the best use of government-sponsored opportunities related to employment.  

What benefits exist for employers?
Employing individuals with disabilities aids the growth and diversity of Santa Barbara County workforce. MWC Employment Services offers guidance and support for businesses in hiring and retaining individuals living with mental illness. We also offer information to employers about tax advantages and benefits that accrue with an all-inclusive community workforce.

Contact Morgan Cook at 805-884-8440 for help in getting started with a solution to your employment needs.

MWC Spotlight: COO, Patricia Collins, was appointed a three-year term on the California State Rehabilitation Council in October 2014 by Governor Brown. The Council influences public employment services policy and build opportunities for people with disabilities to work in California. Patricia is thrilled to continue this important work and serve out her term.

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What is supported employment?

Supported employment is the type of employment where accommodations and assistance are used to help individuals be successful in work situations. See more in the Glossary.


"There is nothing more important than a good, safe, secure home" ~ Rosalynn Carter

Housing is essential to mental health recovery and is the most basic form of healthcare. Santa Barbara has endured a shortage of affordable housing and consequently has left too many homeless and without community support. The Mental Wellness Center understands this need and offers the following five housing options, providing affordable homes to ninety adults and children in Santa Barbara County.




Casa Juana Maria Adult Residential Facility

Care staff is available 24/7. This licensed board-and-care home provides supervised care for six adults who need support and supervision. Residents must be referred by Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness.

Eleanor Apartments

An Onsite Manager is available. This is a complex for independent living, with eight two-bedroom units specifically for families where at least one member has a mental illness. Waitlisted.


Alameda House Adult Residential Facility

Care staff is available 24/7. This adult residential facility offers round-the-clock care to six residents.  Residents must be referred by Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness.


Garden Street Apartments

An Onsite Manager is available. These apartments hold thirty-seven affordable units in a downtown complex next to the Mental Wellness Center’s main offices and on-site programs. Mostly one-bedroom or studio units, these apartments are for independent living, where the principal tenant has a mental health diagnosis. Thirteen affordable units are for independent living, where the principal tenant has a low-income job in the downtown corridor. Wait-listed.


CG House Adult Residential Facility

Care staff is available 24/7. This adult residential facility offers round-the-clock care to six residents. The home is for permanent placements for people who need this level of help. Residents must be referred by Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness.



An onsite Manager is available. This home has five rooms for women who have been homeless, with complex conditions increasing vulnerability. Interpersonal and programmatic supports provided as needed. Residents must be referred by Santa Barbara County's Department of Behavioral Wellness.

                             If you have questions, please call 805-884-8440 or email

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If you or someone you know needs immediate help, please call 9-1-1. For emerging concerns, please call the 24 Hour Toll-Free Crisis Response Access Line 888-868-1649.

Who are peer specialists?

A peer is a person whose experiences and socioeconomic standing puts him or her in the same category as a referenced group. A mental health recovery peer is a person who has experienced mental illness and recovery. Peers are used in the mental health workforce as important service providers and are commonly called peer specialists. See more in the Glossary.