Mental Wellness Center Emphasizes Prevention and Early Intervention at Sixth Annual Mental Wellness Luncheon

The Mental Wellness Center hosted its sixth annual Mental Wellness luncheon on Wednesday, October 19 at the Carrillo Recreation Center, where nearly 250 friends and patrons gathered together in support of the organization.

The Mental Wellness Center is a private, non-profit organization that works to meet the needs of individuals and families affected by mental illness, through support, education, and direct services. 

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Cards placed on the tables at the luncheon featured quotes written by local students, sharing what they have learned through the Mental Health Matters curriculum, a program of the Mental Wellness Center.

“Whether it’s you, someone in your family, or a friend, we all know someone who is living with a mental illness,” said Annmarie Cameron, CEO of the Mental Wellness Center.  “Unfortunately, too many people do not recognize the need for treatment until years later, when their symptoms have progressed.”

“Thanks to the generous support of our community, the Mental Wellness Center continues to provide critical services for individuals and families to meet their current needs, while also focusing our efforts on early intervention and prevention,” Cameron added. “Our annual luncheon is a wonderful opportunity to update our supporters about the important work we are doing to build a future of hope and wellness.”

Andrea Carnaghe, chair of the board of directors, welcomed guests who enjoyed a gourmet lunch sponsored by Chef Michael Hutchings.

Former Santa Barbara County Fire chief Tom Franklin shared his story about learning of and seeking help for his son’s mental illness.

“Like so many parents, we were confused and scared and didn’t know where to turn,” said Franklin, who now serves as a volunteer for the Mental Wellness Center and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Santa Barbara County. “NAMI’s Family-to-Family program was a lifesaver. We learned how to set limits and communicate with our son. And most importantly, we learned that we must be patient.”

Franklin shared his experience with NAMI and the Mental Wellness Center, who he called “heroes,” as they helped his family navigate the complicated world of mental illness.

“When you support the Mental Wellness Center, you support countless families in need,” he told guests. Together, the MWC and NAMI are the embodiment of hope.”

Board member Alex Filippini invited guests to invest in the Mental Wellness Center’s mission to respond to mental illness at the earliest stages and educate youth, adults, families and the community about the realities of mental illness, combatting the stigma and myths that so often hinder access to treatment.  

The Mental Wellness Center would like to thank this year’s major sponsors: Keller & Rohrback LLC, Cottage Health, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Sansum Clinic.

For more information about the Mental Wellness Center, 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 that recognizes that mental illness is a community matter that affects us all. The Mental Wellness Center is dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by mental illness, through support, education, and direct services. 

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