mental health

The City of San Luis Obispo

As cities across the country grapple with the issue of police responding to mental health and substance abuse crisis related calls, the city of San Luis Obispo is expanding on one program — and creating another — to help shift intervention away from law enforcement, and into the hands of health-related experts.

Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Recent reopenings across California have left some people feeling relieved. But, others are experiencing a very different response.

Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA) is a local nonprofit that provides services to promote recovery and wellness for people with mental illness.

Michael Kaplan is the community engagement director at TMHA. He said people can be affected differently by the reopenings.

Courtesy of Ciro Coelho

The Alma Rosa Winery in Santa Barbara is hosting its second annual fundraising event on July 24 to raise funds for two mental health nonprofits: Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and One Mind.

 After 15 months of social distancing, quarantines and lockdowns, we are finally re-entering our public spaces and rebuilding important relationships. How is that process going? This week, the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, has an interactive conversation about how your life post-COVID-19 is impacting your mental health and wellbeing. There's a lot to catch-up on —your calls with comments, updates, questions and concerns will be welcomed and encouraged — as we get back to shows from the studio.

Courtesy: Marian Regional Medical Center

A new facility designed to treat people having mental health crises is opening soon at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

Rachel Showalter

The San Luis Obispo City Council approved the 2021-23 financial plan at a meeting June 1. It includes an expansion of the city’s police budget, which has raised concern among some members of the community.

The two-year financial plan totals $173 million. The money is divided between a general fund, water, sewer, parking, transit and special revenue.

In an effort to stay informed many of us may be consuming more news than our mind can process. As the 24/7 news cycle has grown, so have the incidents of anxiety, depression and panic in the general public. Host Elizabeth Barrett welcomes journalism professor Kim Bisheff. In addition to her teaching, she is an award-winning author and expert on the spread of misinformation through social networks. Barrett and Bisheff tackle a question increasingly on our minds: How do we protect our mental health and well-being in an age of over-stimulation?

The first hour of life outside the womb is a special time when babies meet their parents for the first time and a family is formed. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be interrupted unless the baby or mother is unstable and requires medical resuscitation. It is a "sacred" time that should be honored, cherished and protected whenever possible.

  When one consciously invests in life, the possible accomplishments are limitless. It is something Dr. Ryan Alaniz is keenly aware of. He is an associate professor in Cal Poly's sociology department, an author, researcher and community builder. Dr. Alaniz is an expert in disaster relief, social change, water scarcity & drought and correctional education. He is also a father, farmer, beekeeper, soccer player, kayak guide, and tender of the earth.

Host Elizabeth Barrett speaks with Dr. Alaniz about his work and efforts to educate incarcerated persons, alongside what led him to sociology and how he balances his work with his mental health.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 8th leading cause of death in San Luis Obispo County. This past week the County of San Luis Obispo, in partnership with the Suicide Prevention Council, made its draft Suicide Prevention Plan available for public review and comment. The Plan’s release comes at a critical time for promoting mental health and wellness after a year of COVID-19–associated stress. This Plan is the result of years of collaboration among community members, government agencies, and private and public organizations. It provides a framework of strategic aims, goals, and objectives that will work to guide prevention, intervention, and postvention support for those affected by suicide.

Elizabeth Barrett welcomes Roya Khorram and Carmen Bouquin, two local college students who are uniting social movements through an Instagram account, "SLO Informed." Their account has amassed an impressive following and shaken up local conversations in less than a year by inspiring fellow activists. The conversation discusses the waves of change being driven by the emerging Generation Z, and the challenges of connecting the efforts of those from different eras of rebellion.

Issues & Ideas: Alzheimer's research, farmworker vaccinations and expanding inclusion

Feb 2, 2021

50 agricultural workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine at their workplace in Fresno, which advocates say is the best way to ensure all farmworkers get vaccinated. Governor Gavin Newsom has had mixed success modernizing state bureaucracy in the last two years. You’ll hear from a UCSB neuroscientist about a research project aimed at understanding Alzheimer's. Also, we’ll get an update from Michelle Call of GALA Pride and Diversity Center on the ways the organization has become more inclusive. And finally, you’ll get a closer look at the work being done at SLO’s Transitions Mental Health Association.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love. More than in any other time in recent history, right now we need to be opening our hearts to something greater than ourselves. True love, deep love, honest love, passionate love, compassionate love—love that makes us believe in life again. The world is more beautiful, hopeful and full of possibilities—it's hard to hate when you're bathed in love. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist and author, coach and consultant Bob Kamm about the power of love at every age in healing our deepest wounds.  

Veterans Day honors all of those who have served our country in war or peace. Hear a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett and guests US Army retired Lt. Colonel David Kramer and retired Colonel Jeff White about their lifelong friendship that began on September 11, 2001. It has continued through tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, promotions, marriages, children and civilian careers. It's a bond formed through years serving side-by-side as brothers and friends.

In times of stress, anxiety and uncertainty it's important to take action.  Seek comfort, self soothe and find moments of calm. Listen to music, dance like no one is watching, focus your breathing, think positive thoughts.  Talk about things that give you joy and allow space for new friends, feelings and interests. Tune in for a conversation with the Reluctant Therapist, Elizabeth Barrett, and guest Nick Larsen from the band Proxima Parada, about anything that isn't connected to the current climate of fear, anger, despair and rage. Let's lift our energy toward hope and love - let's sing, breathe and laugh.

One of life's most profound moments is the birth of a child, becoming a mom and beginning the journey of raising a human. Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett about the changes we go through with the arrival of a baby, and the changes we're experiencing parenting through the pandemic. How has your parenting changed since the world locked down? 

Currently 86 percent of working psychotherapists are white, and many earned their degrees before multicultural counseling became a standard part of graduate training. This reality inspired the creation of AYANA Therapy, an online platform connecting marginalized and intersectional individuals with mental health professionals. Listen to a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett and AYANA's founder and CEO Eric Coly.

Mental health care can be liberating, but it can also be debilitating. How can we be sure that we are accessing help that will truly bring relief, healing and support, to reach our highest potential? Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest James Statler, executive director of Community Counseling Center, about challenging the current system of mental health care treatment and re-imagining a mental wellness plan for addressing our complex social challenges.

In the face of stress, trauma and tragedy, learning to nurture our soul and lean in to our relationships is fundamental in maintaining our mental health and well-being. Tune in for a conversation with Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest Dr. John Elfers about how we can find the energy to rekindle our motivation and tap into the tools available to calm our mind and improve our lives.

Issues & Ideas: A virtual Monterey Jazz Festival, the SLO Botanical Garden and YouthWell

Sep 23, 2020

The Monterey Jazz Festival usually takes place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September, but the 63rd annual festival will be virtual. You'll hear from Beau and Melissa Kramer of Kramer Events talking about the recent challenges of the event business. The University of California at Berkeley is starting a new center to study the science of psychedelics and you’ll hear from one of the center's cofounders—journalist and author Michael Pollan. YouthWell is a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara that provides free mental health workshops and resources for teens, parents, and educators. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s programs have adapted to the pandemic, and there are big plans for the future. And finally today, you’ll hear a story of stranded hikers trapped in the wilderness by a raging wildfire.

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness month. Knowing how to recognize, address and talk about stressors, mental health, loss and grief; is critical in helping those we love and care for and help to reduce ever increasing suicide rates. Tune in for a Conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist and Alysia Hendry, suicide prevention coordinator for the county of San Luis Obispo about hope, resilience and recovery.

Depression and anxiety continue to rise as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the virus continues across the U.S. it has created a level of isolation not previously seen before. Fear for our health, and that of family and friends, financial strain, food shortages, and much more brought on by the pandemic, can bring extraordinary stress into our daily lives. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in July 2020 found more than half of U.S. adults reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus, an increase of 20% from when the same question was asked in March 2020. 

Every person has a story to tell and once we hear that story, we are connected. Healing the divide in this country will require having the patience to listen to each other's story to discover the humanity, love and light in every person. Tune in for a conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist, from the Black Hills of South Dakota and meet three individuals learning to live their best lives with love, honor and dignity. 

With the rise of COVID-19, aging and isolation are more prevalent than ever. This year’s Aging Project aims provide an understanding of the aging process through a new lens, navigate social isolation versus loneliness and address wellness and mental health through the scope of aging. Join Fred Munroe as he speaks with Steve Willey, director of volunteer and community education at Wilshire Hospice and Community Services; Denise LaRosa, Wilshire Hospice’s bereavement manager; and Kelly Donohue, Wilshire Health and Community Services's public relations specialist as they discuss what the Aging Project is and it's goals.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected day-to-day life for nearly everyone around the world, and negatively affected many people’s mental health. For people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders, it has created new barriers to care and treatment. Behavioral health clinicians have found and are continuing to look for new ways to access and work with these individuals during this time of social distancing, and many of have found that this creative hard work is beginning to pay off, evidenced by client buy-in to treatment and anecdotal stories of personal success, improved relationships, etc.

While schools scramble to develop and offer a remote education that meets academic requirements, parents are scrambling to create alternative learning opportunities that also address their children's social and emotional needs, while providing much needed childcare.  "Learning Pods", or "Pandemic Pods" are comprised of families who come together to provide educational support, child care and social interactions.  They're quickly springing up all over the country and the county. Tune in for a Conversation with Elizabeth Barrett, the Reluctant Therapist and guests, about the pros and cons of parent-led curriculum's and the potential for unintentionally fueling already troubling economic and racial inequities in our school systems.

What do they want? The grievances of Generation Z activists are wide and varied—from racial injustice to policing, civil rights to gender rights, climate change to economic inequity. These are not their grandparents protests, but they are a continuation of their legacy and collective anger, sadness, frustration, fear, resolve and love. Reluctant Therapist Elizabeth Barrett and guest hosts Aaliyah Sade and Davied Gudiel have a conversation about the complexity and yet, simplicity, of the fight for social justice and claiming of the American Dream for all.

For members of BIPOC communities, developing healthy relationships with their bodies and wellness in general can be challenging because the habits modeled by the dominant culture as "normal" do not reflect or address the diets, self care and self expression found in these diverse populations and can often lead to great harm. Tune in for a Conversation with The Reluctant Therapist's guest hosts, David Gudiel and Aaliyah Sade, as they explore their own personal journeys to reclaim their bodies and wellness outside of a patriarchal narrative that ignores and often rejects the wisdom of ancestors and ancient knowledge. We continue to open this space during BIPOC Mental Health Awareness month to give access to those voices who are rarely heard and need to be amplified.

With the number of married people in the U.S. at an all-time low, co-habitations at an all-time high and a generational rejection of traditional relationships, many wonder if we've seen the end of matrimony as a form of creating intimate connections. Tune in for a conversation with guest hosts David Gudiel and Aaliyah Sade about their recent engagement. They share their vision for their future as partners and the act of courage it takes to commit to a lifelong partnership in the 21st century.

How we identify, name and introduce ourselves can be an action of empowerment and inclusion—or, if we are not careful with our language, it can also be a source a disconnection and 'otherness.' Meeting each other where we are and as who we are is an important bridge to understanding and care. Tune in for a conversation with The Reluctant Therapist and guest hosts Aaliyah Sade and David Gudiel about the many ways that the helping professions fail to recognize or address the impact of institutional and systemic issues on the mental health and well-being of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities. This is the kick-off for BIPOC mental health awareness month and the beginning of a series of discussions and topics chosen and lead by this heart-centered, activist, artistic, passionate couple of recent Gen Z college graduates.

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