NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County to Host July Speaker Meeting on Law Enforcement and Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Santa Barbara County – a program of the Mental Wellness Center – will host its July Speaker Meeting with Undersheriff Bernard Melekian and Lieutenant Eddie Hsueh of the Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Department, to educate the community on law enforcement as it relates to mental health conditions.

During the free program – which will be held on July 28 at 7:00 PM – Undersheriff Melekian will discuss how interaction between law enforcement and individuals who are affected by mental illness has evolved over the past several decades. Lt. Hsueh will inform the community of a new initiative that is focused on training officers and staff on proper techniques to control and de-escalate conflict. They will also delve into their efforts with community providers, including the Department of Behavioral Wellness, to ensure that individuals are able to receive effective treatment for mental illness, not just incarceration.

This session will also provide information on plans to implement a comprehensive 40-hour course each year, titled Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), with more than 100 officers and deputies from other law enforcement agencies in the Santa Barbara County. NAMI has both developed and advocated for this program both nationally and locally.

Open to the public, the July Speaker Meeting will be held at the Fellowship Club at the Mental Wellness Center (617 Garden Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101) and is free. Guests are welcome to enjoy coffee and dessert at 6:30 PM, and the program will begin at 7:00 PM. A Q&A session will follow, and Spanish translation is also available.

For more information, please contact Jessie Schreiner, Family Advocate at the Mental Wellness Center, at 884-8440 ext. 3206 or           

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

About NAMI

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI Southern Santa Barbara County is a program of the Mental Wellness Center in Santa Barbara and an affiliate of NAMI California. NAMI So. Santa Barbara County’s dedicated volunteers, members and leaders work tirelessly to raise awareness and provide essential education, advocacy and support group programs for people in our community living with mental illness and their loved ones.


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