Community Disaster / Trauma Response


The Department of Behavioral Wellness is an active participant in community disaster and trauma response.  The department operates a countywide Behavioral Wellness Response Team comprised of departmental staff responders.  The Behavioral Wellness Response Team is a well-rounded group of responders with a variety of expertise and cultural and language capabilities. This team is trained in response to various crisis intervention modalities including, but not limited to, Psychological First Aid (PFA) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and provides response for local natural and man-made disasters, mass violence, school traumatic events including student deaths as well as other critical incidents within the community.  Behavioral Wellness also participates in community-wide disaster preparation activities, collaborates with the Department of Public Health, Red Cross, Hospice, Santa Barbara Response Network and other community partners and provides trainings to county employees and community partners.

Take Our Survey - COVID-19 Community Mental Health Impact

Santa Barbara County seeks the community's input on mental health support service needs to address the impacts of COVID-19. Please take this quick survey before September 30. More information about the survey can be found in the press release below.

Click here for the English Survey

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Read the English Press Release here

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Behavioral Wellness Support during a Community Crisis

The Department of Behavioral Wellness provides the following areas of support during a community crisis:


General Disaster Response Resources

Children's Disaster Response Resources

Ready: Get Your Kids on Your Team

Children and Young Adults Disaster and Trauma Response

School Trauma Response Resources


Immigration Trauma Response Resources

Support for Department and County Staff

Whether working in the field of public service in general, or with the most severely impacted and most complex behavioral health cases, is challenging and can "take a toll."  Many who have worked in this helping field for a long time have developed the ability to work with stressful situations on a daily basis without any personal impact. However, dealing with certain traumatic or stressful situations can have a lasting negative impact.  In addition, other situations may also occur in the workplace such as the sudden loss, serious illness or death of a co-worker, death of a client or other traumatic workplace event.  The Department of Behavioral Wellness knows how critical this support is and provides for immediate access to support (provided directly or coordinating with external resources).

Department or County employees or supervisors may request support or linkage to support, at any time, by contacting Suzanne Grimmesey at (805) 886-5403 or

Critical Incident Stress Debriefings

Working as a professional first responder long enough, one has or will likely be faced with some kind of tragedy.  Traumatic events are not natural things to witness for most people, but can become a common occurrence for professional first responders.   Although traumatic events will always be a part of the daily life of first responders, some traumas may uniquely impact a team and individuals on a time uniquely. Critical incident stress management is a short-term, psychological first-aid intervention strategy that can help mitigate long-term mental health issues for first responders. Critical incident stress management is a helpful tool not only for first responders but for workplace teams who have been impacted by a traumatic event.

Critical incident stress debriefings encourages individuals and teams to work through the impact of the cognitive, emotional, and psychological symptoms that manifest as a direct result of exposure to traumatic stress, especially repetitive or cumulative traumatic stress. This approach aims to return those involved to a pre-event "normal" status quicker through facilitation of a normal recovery process and allows teams to regain their normal functioning and effectiveness as a team.

To request a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing for your team, please call Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT at (805) 886-5403.

Behavioral Wellness Response Team

Department employees interested in joining the Behavioral Wellness Response Team may contact Suzanne Grimmesey at (805) 886-5403 or

For information on Disaster/Trauma Response or to request training or immediate support, please contact:

Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT

Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer, PIO