Discover tools to help you improve your mental wellness.

understanding & managing stress

Stress is a natural part of life it can motivate a person to perform well during a test or an important meeting.

Stress can also be negative and debilitating. Stress is triggered by different life challenges, and what is stressful for one person may not be stressful for another.

It is important to recognize what causes stress for you, especially the negative kind. What causes you to feel stressed out?

There are many different ways to handle stress in order to maintain wellness.

  • Some people find meditation to be helpful.
  • Others may manage stress by listening to music, taking a relaxing walk, or just hanging out with friends.
practice mental wellness skills

We can all practice mental wellness skills!

  • Take time for yourself. make time to do something you find relaxing.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy foods. Exercise. All of these can aid in improving your mental wellness.              
  • Know that alcohol and other drugs interfere with most psychiatric medications, making them less effective and in some cases, dangerous.
3 dimensions of wellness

There are 3 important dimensions to wellness: physical, social and mental.

  1. Physical wellness includes health skills such as good nutrition and fitness.
  2. Social wellness includes communication skills that help us communicate with others in positive ways. One example would be to practice good listening skills.
  3. Mental wellness includes self-awareness and managing emotions.
self care tips poster

you matter poster



It's OK to ask for help.
Talk to a trusted adult.

resources, crisis phone & text hotlines

Visit and access the all new YouthWell Community Resources Directory. You will find youth behavioral health and wellness resources in this resource directory.

If you or someone you know has harmed themselves or is in immediate risk of harm CALL 911 immediately.

SAFTY ~ Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth 

  • 888-334-2777 - SAFTY is a mobile crisis response service available daily 8am-8pm, providing crisis intervention, phone, and in-home support, and linkage to mental health services. Available to all SB County youth, age 0-20, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. 

Crisis Text Line

  • Text SIGNS to 741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling.
    Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via text. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255)  or  ONLINE LIVE CHAT
    24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Your call is routed to the nearest crisis center in the national network of 150+ crisis center


mental wellness center resources

Learning about mental health is the first step to wellness. The Mental Wellness Center (MWC) can help families find medical and professional care, as well as teach important skills on how to manage your mental health. Many families in our community have teenagers that are struggling with depression, anxiety, ADHD and other mental health issues. It can be overwhelming as a parent to find support for your teenager and difficult to talk about. The MWC is focused on providing a safe and confidentialspace for families to connect with others, access community resources and get the support your family needs.


Keeping Connected Group
Come discuss life, work on communication and social skills and enjoy time with your peers! This weekly group brings together teens, 14-18, to learn emotion management in a fun, safe place. Learn and practice self-management skills for better self-regulation. Drop-ins are welcome.

Wellness Connection Council
The Wellness Connection Council is a high school leadership program that educates, empowers and engages local students. To learn more, visit

Mental Health Matters • 6th & 9th GRADE CLASSES
MHM teaches basic facts about mental health to sixth and ninth grade students in the classroom. Instructors talk about stigma and how it affects our perceptions of mental illness and taking care of ourselves. Students learn the facts, including symptoms and warning signs, of specific mental health disorders.


SPOT (Support for Parents of Teens and Adolescents)
Mom Group - Meets Mondays at 10:00 AM (Spanish Group), Tuesdays at 12:00 PM and Wednesdays at 6:30 PM.

SPOT is a safe space for moms of teens and young adults to connect with other moms who might also be struggling in parenting a child with mental health challenges. We listen, support, and gain perspective in what is in our control and what is not. Facilitated discussion on emotional intelligence, coping strategies, and mindfulness is all incorporated during our time together.

For more information and to participate in SPOT, please contact Mental Wellness Center Family Advocate, Ramona Winner, at: 805-884-8440 ext. 3206, You must contact Ramona first to receive ZOOM link. If you are interested in joining the SPOT Spanish Group, please contact Isis Castaneda at: 805-448-0920.

Family Advocate
The MWC Family Advocate can assist families and provide assistance in understanding and navigating the local public and private mental health systems and on how to access various clinical and support services available in our community and we offer one-on-one support in times of crisis. 805.884.8440 x3206


Mental Health First Aid
This 8-hour course is offered monthly at the MWC and teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It also teaches an action plan to use in a psychiatric emergency. This course can be customized and provided on-site in schools and organizations.

4th Thursday Speaker Presentations
MWC offers with the Southern SB County NAMI Chapter presentations with dynamic speakers on topics of local interest related to mental health. View the MWC calendar on our website for upcoming speakers and panels.

NAMI • Family-to-Family Educational Classes
This 12-week course helps families better understand how their family member experiences their illness, how to best support the recovery process and how to better cope with the impact on the entire family. Contact the MWC Family Advocate to inquire or reserve a place in the next series. 805.884.8440 x3206


The MWC Library Online Catalog is freely available on the internet. Simply input “MWC Library” as the library name; no password is required.

You may check out the library collection during MWC open hours or formal meeting periods. Contact the MWC Receptionist or your Support Group Facilitator to register as a Library patron and obtain information on Library procedures.

For further information, please contact MWC Librarian:

One of the very best ways to deal with issues, experiences, and uncertainties surrounding mental health disorders is to become informed and increase your knowledge. The Library at the Mental Wellness Center provides books for independent learning available for loan to MWC clients and client families.

The collection covers a wide variety of topics related to mental health and wellness. It contains books on a range of mental health disorders including ADD/ADHD, anxiety disorders, bipolar mood disorder, depression, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Materials on client and family coping and survival strategies, drug abuse in dual diagnosis, and suicide are also available. You will also find a limited selection of materials on psychopharmacology, memoirs, some relevant fiction, and a small collection of books written for children and teens.



Change the conversation.

communication tips

Tip 1. Be receptive

  • Take the lead, show initiative and ask: "Are you OK?"
  • Put the invitation out there: "I've got time to talk". (put away your cell phone)
  • Maintain eye contact and sit in a relaxed position (positive body language will help you both feel more comfortable)
  • Spending time with the person lets them know you care & can help you understand what they're going through.

Tip 2. Use icebreakers to initiate a conversation

  • Use open-ended questions such as "So tell me about...?", which require more than a "yes" or "no" answer.
  • You may also like to use the following questions to start a conversation:
    • "I've noticed that you've seemed really down/worried/stressed for a while now. Is there anyone you've been able to talk to about it?".
    • “Lots of people go through this sort of thing. Getting help might make it easier.”
    • "I hate to see you struggling on your own. There are people that can help. Have you thought of visiting your doctor?."

Tip 3. Practice your listening skills

  • Listen to what a person is saying. Be open-minded and non-judgemental. Sometimes, when someone wants to talk, they just need someone to listen and they're not always seeking advice.
  • Avoid telling someone what to do. It is important to listen and try to help the other person work out what is best for them. After they share, consider saying “how can I support you?”
  • Be patient - let the person take their time.
  • Active listening involves listening with empathy while giving the talker time to explore their thoughts and feelings. It allows the listener to give their full attention to the speaker, and to show interest to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’ or simply ‘Mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue. Active listening allows the speaker to feel heard. And it allows the listener to simply listen without having to have the right answer or rush in with a solution. As a listener, try to remain neutral and non-judgmental and not try to form opinions or plan responses.

Tip 4. Be encouraging

  • Encourage self-care. Sometimes people need to be encouraged to do more to look after their own needs during a difficult time. Maintaining regular exercise, a nutritious diet, balance around their digital devices and social media, and getting regular sleep helps to cope in tough times.
  • Encourage the person to seek professional help from their family doctor, a support service or counselor, or a mental health worker.
active listening phrases

Try these phrases when engaging in conversation with your teen so that they feel heard.

    “Can you tell me more?”
    “When did this happen?”
    “Let me see if I understand what you said…”
    “I can see you are feeling very angry right now.”
    “Why____?” What would you like to see happen?”
    “I see it this way___. How do you see it?
    “I would like your advice on how we can resolve this.”
    “How would you feel if it were you?
    “Many people feel the way you do.”
    “I can appreciate why you feel that way.”
    “I understand that you feel___ when I/she/he____”
    “I appreciate your willingness to______”
how do you become a trusted ally?
  • Make it safe for youth to ask for help.
  • Ask questions. Reach out. Listen. Check-in.
  • Be kind. Show compassion.
  • Don’t minimize feelings. Take youth seriously.
  • Know the signs of emotional distress.
what you do and say is important

Supportive friends and family can play an important role in the mental health recovery process. Remember that a person cannot just “snap out of it.” 

Be willing to listen. 

  • DO allow your friend to talk about his or her mental health diagnosis.
  • DO NOT give advice or try to make it seem that their concerns are not real or are just a phase.
  • DO NOT share your friend's personal information, thoughts or feelings with others, unless your friend intends to hurt himself/herself or others, then call 911!

Don't give up if your friend pulls away.

  • People with mental health disorders sometimes withdraw from family and friends. Understand that this may happen because they are scared and that their brain is not working the way it used to. Therefore, it is important to keep trying to spend time with them by hanging out, studying or just talking. Doing this may help them realize that you are there for them and that you care.

Learn as much about mental health disorders and wellness as you can.

  • Knowledge is powerful and can help you to know what you might expect from your friend.         

Pay it forward!

  • Help bust stigma by educating friends and family about mental health disorders.
your words matter • say this not that

Your words matter! Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness, understanding, and respect, NOT with negative, judgmental, or hurtful words. Think about what you might say and how your friend might feel.

HELPFUL things to say...

  • Thanks for opening up to me.

  • How can I support you?

  • I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain.

  • I wanted to check in with you, you haven’t seemed yourself lately.

  • You are not alone in this. I am here for you.

  • Have you thought about getting help?

  • You are important to me.

  • Do you want a hug?

  • You are not going crazy.

  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and I can listen.

  • It's not your fault.

  • It's the illness that causes these thoughts and feelings.

  • I may not be able to understand how you feel, but I care about you.

  • I am here for you. We will get through this together.

  • This must be really difficult for you.

  • I'm listening.

  • Use person first language: It is better to say…
    “My friend has schizophrenia”
    than to say, 
    “My friend is schizophrenic.”

HURTFUL things to say...

  • It's all in your head.
  • What's wrong with you?
  • Shouldn't you be better by now?
  • Just snap out of it!

Bottom line...

  • You want to reassure your friend of your support and understanding.






high school clubs



mental health 1st aid



learn about resources