The Santa Barbara Wellness Project: Development and Implementation
AbstractThis article discusses the creation, implementation and maintenance of the Santa Barbara Wellness Project. This initiative was developed in response to an increase in Latino teen suicides in Santa Barbara County in recent years. Community members including mental health professionals, university faculty and students, concerned citizens, youth and parents came together to help form a prevention program in the wake of this adversity. A basic program including components of relaxation, stress management, problem-solving, and decision-making was developed through consultation among these groups and modifications continue as needed. The program is rooted in the empowerment philosophy of Freire (1973, 2004). Thus far, over 500 individuals have been trained and we are in the process of conducting program evaluation. Challenges, “lessons learned,” and successes are discussed.
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