COVID-19 is here in our community and the Community Wellness Team wants readers to know “we are still here for you.”

The Community Wellness Team was established in December 2017 in response to the impact of the Thomas Fire and Jan. 9 debris flow in Santa Barbara County. The team is comprised of 13 local agencies working together to support the wellness of our community in response to crises or disaster.

The collaboration assures coordinated, comprehensive and accessible mental health, spiritual and emotional wellness resources uniquely designed for the impact of the collective adversity the community encounters.

The Community Wellness Team is led by the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness and co-chaired by the Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth.  The team comprises a coordinated continuum of services available to meet the needs of individuals impacted by the collective and individual trauma experienced in the county.

The Community Wellness Team has developed services tailored to the needs surrounding COVID-19, which are virtual using telehealth and can be accessed countywide.  

“We are fortunate to have a well-organized structure with comprehensive resources that have been able to easily adapt to virtual services and use telehealth which has allowed this team to expand services offered to the needs countywide,” said Suzanne Grimmesey, chief quality care and strategy officer with Behavioral Wellness.

Services provided by the Community Wellness Team include immediate crisis response; short- and long-term grief, trauma, and bereavement counseling for children and adults in an individual or group format; school support; spiritual care; and critical incident stress debriefings and counseling for first responders or other impacted entities.

The Community Wellness Team Resources and Referral line, 805-364-2750, is available for individuals, both English- and Spanish-speaking, to call to learn what behavioral health services are offered throughout the Community Wellness Team in the community and for assistance in accessing these services.

Services providers offer a range of virtual and telehealth options, including phone calls and video conferencing (with individuals or with groups or teams) to meet the unique needs of COVID-19. Also visit the Community Wellness Team website for resource information at

The Department of Behavioral Wellness remains open for a full range of essential services, crisis services and limited outpatient services for clients who are Medi-Beneficiaries. The Behavioral Wellness Access Line is available 24 hours a day, sevem days a week at 1-888-868-1649.