Meeting the community’s mental health and spiritual and emotional wellness in response to the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 debris flow is the goal of the newly established Community Wellness Team.

Led by the Santa Barbara County’s Department of Behavioral Wellness, a continuum of services is available to meet the needs of individuals impacted by the collective and individual trauma experienced in the region.

“The Community Wellness Team is a collaboration of 13 local agencies working together to support the wellness of our community,” said Suzanne Grimmesey, chief quality care and strategy for Santa Barbara County Behavior Wellness.

Symptoms of stress experienced in response to trauma may include anxiety, sadness, depression or confusion and may be noticed in sleep, concentration, work or relationships.

“People respond differently to trauma and may have different levels of need,” Grimmesey said. “Within the Community Wellness Team continuum of care, a range of crisis services are available, including short and long-term counseling.”

A member of the Community Wellness Team, Cottage Health is offering an intensive outpatient program of groups designed to help individuals learn how to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and trauma.

Cottage Health support groups will be provided in English and Spanish and all are free. Orientations for the intensive outpatient program begin this week. More information is available at

More information on the Community Wellness Team, including where to access services is available on under Health and Safety. A guide to mental health, spiritual and emotional wellness resources can be accessed through the site.

— Santa Barbara County Joint Information Center.