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PathPoint Mental Health Division Marks 30 Years

A celebration of the milestone will be held Thursday

A legally blind, disabled veteran who suffers from a variety of degenerative diseases, including diabetes, had become increasingly isolated and depressed before counseling at the El Carrillo Project for the Homeless, a project of PathPoint’s Mental Health Division.

He began to participate in the “Horses for Heroes” program, a therapeutic riding program designed for U.S. military veterans, as well as El Carrillo’s gardening group. The therapeutic benefits from participating in these programs have been profound. He leaves his apartment to socialize several times a day, and he is actively involved in community activities.

To commemorate its 30th anniversary, PathPoint’s Mental Health Division is hosting a celebration from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7 at El Carrillo Studios, 315 W. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara. Founded in 1964, PathPoint is a local nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive training and support services that empower people with disabilities to live and work as valued members of the community.

Helping PathPoint commemorate the notable landmark in the Mental Health Division’s 30-year history will be participants who have the opportunity to lead full and productive lives. There will be light appetizers, tours of the grounds and proclamations from elected officials, including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

Jennifer Newbold, Mental Health Division vice president and director, said the event will be an opportunity for individuals coping with mental illness, their family members and other interested community members to celebrate the three decades of services PathPoint has provided to individuals with mental health and substance abuse challenges who live in the Santa Barbara community.

“We look forward to sharing information about and providing tours of the El Carrillo Project for the homeless, which has successfully helped individuals in our communities transition from struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues to being productive members of our community,” she said.

PathPoint’s Mental Health Division has provided services to individuals recovering from mental health diagnoses since 1980. Last year, the Mental Health Division served 191 individuals. PathPoint received the prestigious Outstanding Community Partner of the Year Award for 2009 from the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara.

Individuals helped by the PathPoint Mental Health Division appeared in a segment of California Communities narrated and produced by Huell Howser and broadcast during summer 2009 on public television. At one time living out of her car, one woman spoke poignantly about her recovery made possible by the support she received at El Carrillo.

To RSVP for the 30th anniversary celebration, call 805.963.1086 x31. For more information about PathPoint, click here or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Connecting people, purpose and communities since 1964, PathPoint provides independent living, community access and employment services to more than 2,600 people throughout Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Kern and Los Angeles counties.

— Jennifer Newbold is the vice president/director of PathPoint’s Mental Health Division.

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