Huge thanks to the Independent for publishing the Disaster Prep Guide, which compiles important community resources and information. One of our most vital resources for those struggling with stress experienced after a disaster is that of emotional support. Important to take note that a critical contact number in the Mental Health section of the English version was printed incorrectly (page 8). The correct number for the County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness 24/7 Access Line is (888) 868-1649.
The shock experienced by our entire community in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow may still feel like yesterday, and our community has come a long way in our healing process. Symptoms of stress experienced in response to a natural disaster, and in the case of our community, the many evacuations which have followed, may include anxiety, sadness, depression, irritability and may have an impact on sleep, concentration, work and in relationships. People respond differently to trauma and may have different levels of need and recovery time. Additionally, our community situation is unique with the multiple evacuations continuing to assure safety. Different responses are completely normal.
Emotional support remains available for community members. Whether it be the anticipation of another evacuation, continued recovery from the impact last year or the arising tax season which brings unique stress to many directly impacted by disaster, getting support is critical. Connect with family, friends, and others in the community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help.
The County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness 24/7 Access Line is always available and can be reached by calling (888) 868-1649.