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Santa Barbara - South County

Looking for the Helpers: Local organization providing free counseling to first responders

As our area is faced with ongoing changes due to a growing pandemic, we are bringing stories of people doing good in the community during a time of uncertainty.

Help us look for the helpers!

911 At Ease International

A local Santa Barbara organization is helping first responders facing mental health challenges after the many disasters they have experienced on the frontlines.

The organization is called At Ease International. The organization offers counseling to first responders.

They were founded in 2014 by Sergeant Mike McGrew and Michael Hammer.

The organization focuses on first responders as they deal with a lot of trauma while working on the front lines every day.

After responding to disasters like the Thomas Fire and the Montecito Debris Flow, many first responders suffer from alcoholism and suicide.

The organization says they want to offer help without the red tape.

One local firefighter, Sam Dudley, says he reached out to At Ease after the debris flow and was able to talk to a counselor.

"The way I look at At Ease and why it's so important to have this for our first responders is because we are working under these stressful environments constantly. It is important that we stay ahead and stay mentally sharp so we can be ready for the next call." said Dudley.

At Ease will have a special fundraiser to help keep this program running.

They are showing two new ski and snowboard films at the Santa Barbara West Wind Drive In on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

The showing will be at 6:30 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here.

Know of any other helpers making a difference during these trying times? Send Alys an email and let her know!

Community / Lifestyle
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Alys Martinez

Alys Martinez is a reporter and anchor at NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Alys, click here.

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Julia Nguyen

Julia Nguyen is an assignment editor and social media coordinator for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Julia, click here.

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