Responding To The Tragedy At Isla Vista

On Friday, May 23rd, 2014, another horrifying and tragic mass shooting took place, this time in the community of Isla Vista, California, near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Six people were killed and many others injured. Our state and nation continue to grieve for the victims and their families. Elliot Rodger, who has been identified as the shooter, took his own life.

At Telecare, we are heartbroken to hear of these events. Our prayers go out to all of the families and the community as we mourn these incredible losses.

As care-givers and community-members, this tragedy is a reminder that we have important work still to do.

One way we can help is to advocate for positive change. We can write to our community leaders and government representatives and let them know that how important it is to build and expand effective practices in crisis and preventative mental health care. We know this kind of advocacy can work because earlier this year, the federal government passed the Excellence in Mental Health Act, which will increase access to vital mental health services in the community. Our voices and participation helped make this happen.

In Isla Vista, we can also take steps to offer more immediate help and support, and hopefully, make this terrible time a little easier for those who are coping. If you would like to take action or learn more, you may wish to contact NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (). Also, the University of California, Santa Barbara, has set up a support fund in honor of the families and victims.

For local Santa Barbara area support, continued counseling is being provided by many partners including County Alcohol Drug Mental Health Services, UCSB and the Santa Barbara Resource Network. Telecare, as a provider in Santa Barbara, is also reaching out to the Agency to offer its help. Members of the broader Santa Barbara community seeking emotional support, can access a call center at 805-699-5608. If you need emotional support during this difficult time, a call center has been set up for UCSB students and families which may have questions at (805) 893-3901. These telephone lines are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with English and Spanish language support. ().

Thank-you for joining with us at this time of crises to offer solace to those who are suffering from this terrible tragedy.

CHANGES Supports Mental Health Awareness Month

On May 16, 2014, as part of the We Move for Health Walk, Telecare staff, interns, and clients joined the at Lake Merritt in Oakland, California to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month in support of those with mental health challenges.

 is a national movement, creating awareness around the benefits of physical activity in the promotion of whole health. Moving for Health refers to individuals participating in moderate to vigorous physical activity — of any kind, that can be performed anywhere to work towards improving one’s health.

Mental Health Matters Day is May 13th

On May 13, on the South Lawn of California’s Capitol Building in Sacramento, thousands of people from various backgrounds will gather to show that mental health is important to everyone.

Telecare is proud to be a sponsor of Mental Health Matters Day. Learn more about the event and register for events at . The event will feature a keynote address from Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, as well as inspiring words from pioneers of the mental health movement, and new perspectives on eliminating stigma from youth leaders. Mental Health Matters Day attendees will also enjoy interactive exhibits, live entertainment, and food. You don’t want to miss it!