Cottage Health Offers Free Support Groups for One Year to Aid in the Post-Disaster Healing Process
In response to the Thomas Fire and Debris Flow, Cottage Health is offering free support group sessions for one year to all who live and work in the greater Santa Barbara area. The “How We Heal: Trauma and Anxiety Support Groups” will be led by well-trained and licensed clinicians from Cottage to help attendees learn how to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression and trauma.
Personal attention will be given to each individual’s unique situation during the long recovery period. Participation in all sessions is free and open to anyone who needs support due to their experiences related to the Thomas Disaster. There are separate groups offered for children and teens, as well Spanish speakers. One group is dedicated to survivors who directly experienced the disaster.
“Cottage believes that it’s essential for our community to get the emotional, spiritual and mental health support they need to recover after the events of January 9. We’re offering these support groups at no cost with the goal of reaching as many people as possible who need assistance,” said Darcy Keep, Administrative Director for Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
Each of the Cottage support group sessions is designed to “stand on its own,” and attending every session is not required although it is encouraged, said Layla Farinpour, Manager of Therapeutic Services for Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The curriculum renews every 12 weeks and participants can continue to attend the sessions for as long as they like during the year.
Cottage Health also is a member of the Community Wellness Team, led by the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness. The team is a collaboration of 13 local agencies working together to support the wellness of our community. Cottage support groups are meant to supplement individual therapy and counseling sessions, and referrals can be provided for low-cost or free individual sessions.