Dr. Paul Erickson Recognized with Exemplary Psychiatrist Award

Dr. Erickson NAMI award

NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County president George Kaufmann (left) presenting the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award to Dr. Paul Erickson (right) at a dinner in his honor last week, at the Mental Wellness Center.

Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital medical director for psychiatry and chemical dependency Dr. Paul Erickson received the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) 2015 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award on Thursday, August 27 at a dinner in his honor at the Mental Wellness Center.

He was one of only 16 psychiatrists nationwide to receive this respected recognition, which was announced at NAMI’s 2015 national convention in San Francisco earlier this summer. 

Dr. Erickson was nominated for the award by NAMI’s local affiliate, NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County, which operates as a program of the Mental Wellness Center. 

“Dr. Erickson was named a 2015 Exemplary Psychiatrist because of his commitment to NAMI’s ideals and support of the local affiliate,” said George Kaufmann, president of the affiliate and a board member of the Mental Wellness Center. “He exhibits extraordinary patience, empathy and caring for both his patients and their families, and as a result he is an asset to our local mental health community.”

NAMI’s annual Exemplary Psychiatrists Awards honor doctors who go “an extra mile” in their commitment to providing excellent mental health care. They are working tirelessly to reduce the stigma that has traditionally surrounded mental illness and working closely with NAMI members in their communities to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in mental health care.

For many years, Dr. Erickson has referred families to NAMI services, such as support groups and the “Family-to-Family” program, which helps people learn to cope with the impact of mental illness on the family.  A longtime board member of the Mental Wellness Center, he has also served as a frequent speaker at local monthly NAMI meetings on a variety of topics, from marijuana use by people with mental health disorders to “Ask the Doctor” forums on various mental illnesses.  Additionally, Dr. Erickson inspired the affiliate to develop a new service for family members impacted by mental illness, a weekly “Family Discussion Group” that was recently implemented and has been very well received.

Dr. Erickson has been medical director for psychiatry and chemical dependency since 2002. He is board certified in psychiatry and has ASAM certification. Dr. Erickson completed his residency in psychiatry at the Harvard Department of Psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts, with chief residency in psychopharmacology and family therapy. Previously, he was clinical chief at the Cambridge Hospital Department of Psychiatry and also associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

NAMI is a national non-profit grass roots mental health advocacy and education organization with affiliates in all 50 states and hundreds of communities nationwide. The Mental Wellness Center, NAMI’s local host agency, is a local non-profit organization which provides recovery, education, support and family services for people living with mental illness and their families.

For more information about NAMI, the Mental Wellness Center or its services, please call (805) 884-8440 or visit www.mentalwellnesscenter.org.

About the Mental Wellness Center

The Mental Wellness Center is a private, non-profit organization providing recovery, education, and family services to adults and families affected by mental illness. For more information, please call (805) 884-8440 or visit www.mentalwellnesscenter.org.

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