Credit: Mike Eliason / S.B. County Fire Dept.

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(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – It is normal to experience feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness surrounding the anniversary of a disaster, especially with the current weather conditions and advisory messaging which may trigger emotional reactions.  Only a few days away from the 5-year anniversary of the 1/9 Debris Flow, there are painful memories and emotions which may arise for many in our community. While this is a time to recognize all that has been accomplished and how far we have come as a community, it is important to acknowledge that emotional, physical and spiritual rebuilding still continues on various levels for many.  

Some of the common feelings which may surface surrounding the anniversary of the 1/9 Debris Flow paired with current weather conditions include: stress, memories, sadness, tearfulness, frustration, anger, guilt, avoidance, difficulty sleeping, or irritability.  

Tips for coping include:

  • Acknowledge feelings you may be having
  • Stay connected with others and share feelings and experiences
  • Accept kindness and support from others
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • Engage in healthy activities
  • Keep routines
  • Draw upon faith/spirituality
  • Help others
  • Reach out for support when needed

As individuals and as a community, we can surface from these challenges even stronger than before.  The Community Wellness Team, formed in response to the 1/9 Debris Flow remains available to offer support and can be reached by calling 805-364-2750.  

For linkage to mental health services or for urgent or crisis needs, please call the Behavioral Wellness 24/7 Access line at 1-888-868-1649.  To learn more about the County of Santa Barbara Department of Behavioral Wellness, please visit


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