Town Hall to Address Community's Role in Improving Mental Health Services

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Consumer Advocacy Coalition (CAC) to host Town Hall, "Working Together: Role of Community in Improving Mental Health Services," from 6 to 8 p.m. at Santa Barbara Library's Faulkner Gallery on 40 E. Anapamu St.

All of (the CAC leaders) have been in and out of the hospital.

The Consumer Advocacy Coalition (CAC), with presenting sponsor Noozhawk, will bring together mental health providers, administrators and consumers to re-open dialogue on the issue of supportive services at a Town Hall on December 3, 2008. The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Santa Barbara Public Library's Faulkner Gallery on 40 E. Anapamu St. Visit for details about this event.

The Consumer Advocacy Coalition (CAC) formed July 5th, 2008 by a group of people who eventually lost their existing services and treatment programs due to budget cuts to county mental health services.

CAC is a fledgling non-profit with a grassroots approach to reforming Santa Barbara County's mental healthcare system. Fundamental to their mission is a commitment to social justice - a passionate effort to raise public awareness about mental health and reduce stigma to affect policy in the best interests of residents with persistent and severe mental illness. "The goal is education," Roger Thompson, the founder of CAC, said in a recent interview with the Santa Maria Times. "If we don't educate the public on treatment and dispel stigmas, then they won't fight for (services) with us."

Today the group has received approximately $7,000 in donations from 57 organizations, individuals and businesses, including Starbucks Coffee Company and Trader Joe's grocery store. They will receive a $3,000 grant from the Fund for Santa Barbara on the same day of their Town Hall meeting. "We've done all this while having symptoms along the way," Thompson said, "All of (the CAC leaders) have been in and out of the hospital."

CAC intends to hold a similar Town Hall meeting on March 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Santa Maria Public Library's Shepard.


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Leah Juniper

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