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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness is partnering with the Foodbank to distribute mental health resource materials that support taking action for our own mental health as well as helping others, during May is Mental Health Matters Month.  Foodbank plans to distribute these resource materials to nearly 7,000 families during the month of May.

The pandemic has greatly impacted the number of people impacted by food insecurity both locally as well as globally.  Research tells us that in addition to the physical impact that food insecurity has on a person, it also has an impact on mental health.  Studies show the link in food insecurity to feelings of anxiety, depression and even thoughts of suicide among youth. During the pandemic, a meta-analysis of 19 studies with more than 370,000 participants across the world found that food insecurity significantly increases the risk of depression and stress, especially for men and people older than 65.  Fortunately, there is a way to address the problem of food insecurity, and that is through organizations like Foodbank who will be providing not only the resource of nutritious food during the Month of May, but also mental health resources.

Our mental health deserves the same attention as our physical health but is far too often overlooked or ignored. This month, during May is Mental Health Matters Month, there is a renewed focus on the actions we can take in Santa Barbara County to support our own mental health and the mental health of people we care about. There’s no better time than now to attend to our mental health needs.

More than half of all Americans experience a mental illness or disorder in their lifetime. In recent years, stress, depression and anxiety have become much more common due to the pandemic, social isolation, and transitions back to school and work. 

But it can be difficult to know what to do when we or our family, friends, or peers experience these feelings. 

The recently launched Take Action for Mental Health statewide campaign builds on established approaches and provides resources to equip all Californians to support their own mental health and the mental health of people they care about. 

The Take Action for Mental Health campaign focuses on three key actions—check in, learn more, and get support: 

  • Check in: Check in on your mental health and the mental health of those you care about. Start a conversation to see how you can help or support yourself or others. 
  • Learn more: Learn more about mental health needs and explore the self-care, services, and supports available to help find a path forward. 
  • Get support: Get support for yourself or someone you care about by reaching out and connecting with tools and resources available in your community. 

Join people across California this May in making and sharing your personal Pledge to Take Action for Mental Health. By making this Pledge, you are committing to Check In, 

Learn More, and Get Support for yourself, your friends, and your community to support one another’s mental health. 

The Take Action for Mental Health Pledge says:

I Pledge to Take Action for Mental Health 

  • I will Check In with myself to identify mental health needs. 
  • I will Learn More about mental health. 
  • I will Get Support for my own mental health and support the mental health of others. 
  • I will share this pledge with others to help them take action too!

“Behavioral Wellness supports the Take Action for Mental Health Campaign and will continue to take action in service for our community, for many years to come,” says Antonette “Toni” Navarro, Director of Behavioral Wellness. To learn more about County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness, please visit For assistance accessing Behavioral Wellness services, call the 24/7 toll free Crisis Response and Services Access Line at (888) 868-1649.


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