Buellton winery looks to support local mental health services with vineyard fundraising walk
The recent shortening of the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number to 988 has sparked hopes that people experiencing mental health crises will have easier access to lifesaving support. A local winery is hoping to use that momentum to raise funds this weekend for mental health services on the Central Coast.
Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards is holding a walk tomorrow, July 23, in the hills of Buellton. Participants will walk through the estate's vineyards, grassland and oak forest.
“It is pretty special," said Debra Eagle, Alma Rosa's general manager. "It's pretty unique and not something you can do at any given time, anywhere.”
The annual fundraising walk is called “Peace of Mind: 10,000 Steps in the Right Direction," and it began in 2020. Eagle said it's a beautiful view.
"People are able to start at the valley floor of our ranch in Buellton, North Santa Barbara County. It's about 4.2 miles, 10,000 steps.”
Alma Rosa staff say they hope the fundraiser could raise close to $200,000 this year through matching donations, and that they will announce the final amount raised in the days after the event. The money will go to two mental health nonprofits: the brain health and research group One Mind, and the Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara.
“Partnerships with local organizations are sort of the lifeblood of our nonprofit," said Annmarie Cameron, the Mental Wellness Center's CEO.
Cameron said her work on mental health issues in Santa Barbara County has shown her the impacts of high housing costs and economic inequality on residents across the area.
“People are surprised because Santa Barbara County is so diverse in its North and South regions," she said. "We have a pretty high degree of poverty and also diverse communities, so providing services to everyone in Santa Barbara, whether you have means or you don't is a challenge."
But Cameron said she hopes this fundraiser and the new 988 hotline number will help the Mental Wellness Center better support people in the county experiencing mental health issues and crises. She said fundraising helps strengthen the organization's mental health advocacy efforts.
“Advocacy is a huge part of every mental health agency, because people need to understand that physical health and mental health are equally important, and in many cases they're very connected," she said. "And so in addition to all the practical services that we provide, we're also an advocacy organization — much like One Mind is the leader in our research.”
The walk through the Alma Rosa estate happens July 23, starting at 9am. If you or someone you know if experiencing a mental health crisis, the new hotline number is now live at 988.