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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.)  –   The holiday season can be a time of joy for many, but can also bring feelings of stress and can be especially challenging for those impacted by mental illness. According to the American Psychological Association, 38% of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season, which can lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety, and substance misuse. A NAMI study showed that 64% of people with mental illness report holidays make their conditions worse.  The pandemic has raised conversations of mental health to the forefront and as we enter the holiday season, conversations of mental health and self-care could not be more important.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Nobody should feel alone.  The Behavioral Wellness 24/7 Access Line can be reached by calling 888-868-1649.  In addition, people can call or text 988 or chat .  The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline , formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is now the easy-to-remember resource for reaching trained crisis counselors who can help with suicide, mental health and substance use-related crises. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers supported by HHS through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The lifeline, which also links to the Veterans Crisis Line, follows a three-year joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to put crisis care more in reach for people in need. 

Another self-care resource available at no cost for the Santa Barbara County community is Headspace. The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness has joined a statewide project administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority to offer free Headspace apps for the community, available in English and in Spanish.  Headspace is a technology application created to improve the health and happiness of the world.  Reaching 70 million users in 190 countries, Headspace was one of the first meditation apps in the world and remains a leader in mindfulness and mental training.

Sign up for Headspace now, at no cost, here.

To learn more about Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness please visit  For assistance with accessing Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness services call the 24/7 toll free Crisis Response and Services Access Line at (888) 868-1649.  


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