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Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County improves access for those seeking mental health treatment

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Directors at the Family Service Agency in Santa Barbara are seeing a shortage of clinicians, making it difficult for people to access the mental healthcare they need.

Lisa Brabo Chief executive officer Family services agency

“The concern is that there are many mental health needs, particularly since the pandemic we’re seeing it across the county,” said chief executive officer Lisa Brabo of the Family Service Agency.

In 2022, the Women's Fund of Santa Barbara surveyed its 1,200 members to determine the critical needs in our community. A

And the number one priority they emerged … was mental health care.

"Since Covid we’ve seen rates of suicide particularly young people so providing services to this community for mental health I think is essential," said communications committee cochair Kerry Parker of the Women's Fund.

The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara decided to give the Family Service Agency a $100,000 grant to launch a Community Mental Health Navigator Pilot Program.

"Someone who can help folks access this confusing system to get the mental health Services they need," said behavioral health senior program director Nancy Ranck of the Family Service Agency.

The grant will fund a bilingual community mental health navigator who will connect those struggling with mental health challenges to appropriate services.

The navigator will connect people to support services such as crisis management, substance abuse treatment, and ongoing therapy while also addressing barriers like insurance, translation, transportation, childcare, or work schedule conflicts.

The Family Service Agency anticipates at least 75 percent of participants will utilize its mental health treatment and support services.

"The hope is that will get connected to the care that they need that they’ll be able to get the care and be able to make changes in their lives," said Ranch.

The new Mental Health Navigator has been hired and began working in mid-August.

Article Topic Follows: Health
community assistance
Community Involvement
Community Mental Health Navigator Pilot Program
healthcare access
language barriers
mental health services
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Family Services Agency

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Patricia Martellotti

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