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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Mental Health Experts Explore Resilience in Time of Disaster

As one response to help the Santa Barbara community after the Thomas Fire and subsequent floods and mudslides in Montecito, several mental health professionals have organized the program Promoting Resilience in the Wake of Local Disasters.

The free event is at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the New Vic Theatre, 33 W. Victoria St.

The program will attempt to answer questions such as: How can we anticipate and respond to our own and others’ distress? How do we move forward from vicarious trauma toward coping? How can we promote resilience after tragedy?

Experts in disaster mental health will offer guidance to help the community heal.

Presenters include Erika Felix and Shane Jimerson from the Gevirtz School’s Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology. Moderator will be Tania Israel from UCSB.

Felix is an assistant professor of clinical psychology and a licensed psychologist.

Her research focuses on understanding the individual, relational and contextual factors that promote positive youth development or recovery despite contexts of risk, trauma or stress; evaluating prevention efforts; and improving service delivery.

Felix's work spans three areas: promoting adaptive recovery for youth following disaster, terrorism, or other collectively-experienced traumas; youth victimization and consequences; and research and evaluation to improve community-based services.

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, private foundations, and local community organizations.
Jimerson is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. He is a nationally certified school psychologist and recognized by the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress as a board-certified expert and diplomat.

He is included in the academy's international registry of Experts in Traumatic Stress with specialization in working with children, families and schools.

Jimerson's scholarship highlights the importance of early experiences on development, and emphasizes the importance of research informing professional practice to promote the social and cognitive competence of children.

— George Yatchisin for UCSB's Gevirtz School.

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