Mental Health in Our Community: A Vital Dialogue

May 23 from 5:30 to 7:30pm
In the South Hall on Pacifica’s Lambert Road Campus
249 Lambert Road
Carpinteria, CA

This is a live, in-person event that will also be webcast. To participate remotely, please register in advance here.

Mental health is an extremely important part of every person’s individual well-being. It can impact our relationships, our work, our learning, and our overall quality of life, and in turn, how we interact with those around us.

Unfortunately, mental health problems are often stigmatized and not talked about openly and honestly, which can make it difficult for people to not only recognize their own issues, and those around them, but to know how to get the help they need.

This panel conversation on the current state of mental health in our local community will outline the primary trends and concerns that are affecting our collective well-being. Each panelist will bring forth their unique observations, perspectives, and potential solutions for addressing the issues through myriad approaches: from the practical to the psychological. The open Q&A session will also allow attendees to voice their concerns, comments and questions.

The more we talk about mental health, the better it will be for everyone to thrive. By breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health, raising awareness of mental health issues, educating people about mental health, and building a sense of community, we can help to create a world where everyone can thrive.

Please join us on May 23 from 5:30pm for this vital dialogue. 

Panelists will include:

Matthew Bennett, Pacifica Co-Chair, MA Counseling Psychology
Jemma Elliott, Pacifica Co-Chair, MA Counseling Psychology
Barry R. Schoer, President/CEO, Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara
Danah Williams, Past State President, CAMFT
Rachael Steidl, Executive Director & Founder, Youth Well
David Selberg, Executive Director, Hospice of Santa Barbara
Camille Jarmie Harris, Pacifica Core Faculty and Associate Chair, Clinical Psychology
Jonathan W. Thompson II, Diversity Director for the Santa Barbara Chapter of Marriage and Family Therapists (SBCAMFT)
Ramona Winner, Family Advocate for Mental Wellness Center and NAMI Santa Barbara County. 

Take a look at the article on KETY.

Panelist bios:


Matthew Bennett
Department Co-Chair and Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute Counseling Psychology Department

Matthew is a licensed psychologist, lecturer, and administrator with experience in public sector mental health and substance abuse treatment. He has broad experience in program development. He was formerly founder and first Director of Training for the Ventura County Behavioral Health Pre-Doctoral Internship in Clinical Psychology and Chair-Elect of the Psychology Department at Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, California. His research interests include personality disorders, comparative personality theory, and internet applications for mental health. Dr. Bennett is also a returned Peace Corps volunteer (“Poland III, 1991-1993”).


Jemma Elliot
Department Co-Chair and Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute Counseling Psychology Department

Jemma Elliot, MA, LMFT, LPCC, supports administrative, curricular, and developmental aspects of the MA and PsyD Counseling Psychology programs, teaches in the MA program, and is a passionate contributor to faculty governance. Jemma has a clinical focus on adoption and separation trauma, and has provided trainings and spoken on panels to advance the understanding of the needs of children and families on the adoption spectrum throughout California. She also has a special interest in working with PTSD from a depth psychological perspective, and in witnessing and hosting the extrasensory gifts and energetic awakenings that often arise in clients after traumatic experiences.

Barry R. Schoer
President and CEO of Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara

Barry Schoer is the President and CEO of Sanctuary Centers of Santa Barbara. As a teenager, he was advised by a high school counselor to volunteer at a school for disabled children. His experience led him to find his purpose in helping others. Barry worked as an undergraduate to help change the laws in New York State so that individuals with addiction were placed in treatment rather than in jails and prisons. During his graduate program, Barry interned at Bellevue Hospital, where he was trained and then hired as a licensed psychiatric technician. During his years working in the psychiatric unit at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, various nonprofits, and the County of Santa Barbara, Barry focused on finding ways to improve treatment and open new opportunities for children and adults living with mental illness and/or substance abuse issues.

Danah Williams
CEO of California Coastal Counseling

Danah Williams, MA, LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist and CEO of California Coastal Counseling, a private mental healthcare practice providing psychotherapeutic and behavioral healthcare services to adults, adolescents and children across the state of California. She successfully balances careers as an actor, consultant, producer and a licensed mental healthcare provider. Williams co-created and co-hosts “Reel Psychology,” a popular, live, on-camera podcast with a studio audience that explores the mental health of fictional characters in movies and TV, and interviews celebrity guests to raise public awareness of mental health and destigmatize mental health treatment.

Rachael Steidl
Founder & Executive Director YouthWell

Rachael launched YouthWell in 2016 to address the gaps in mental health services for youth (ages 10-25) and to expand the dialogue with 60+ key stakeholders and increase community collaboration. She convenes the YouthWell Community Collaborative quarterly to address youth mental health prevention and early intervention efforts for Santa Barbara County. In 2021, Rachael developed an online Youth and Family Mental Health and Wellness Resource Directory and Community Calendar that provides resources that reflect services across the spectrum including crisis, early intervention, and postvention in Santa Barbara County.

David Selberg
Chief Executive Officer at Hospice of Santa Barbara

David is a Santa Barbara native and UCSB alum, and has been active in the non-profit community since 1991. He filled multiple roles with Pacific Pride Foundation (PPF), the Central Coast’s LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS organization. David also was the program director at Transition House for a number of years. In addition to his professional work, David volunteered for 12 years with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) working with high needs children in the foster care system. David has served as Hospice of Santa Barbara’s chief executive officer since 2015. During this time, he has helped facilitate HSB’s higher profile, expansion of programs, and various community partnerships.

Camille Jarmie Harris
Department Associate Chair and Core Faculty, Pacifica Graduate Institute Clinical Psychology Department

Camille Jarmie Harris, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice, as well as Core Faculty and Associate Chair in the Clinical Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pacifica in 2018 following a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling specializing in counseling with children and adolescents in 2011. Her clinical areas of expertise focus on supporting birthing families during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum periods, as well as early attachment, work with children and adolescents, and animal-assisted therapy through a depth orientation. Dr. Jarmie Harris’s areas of interest in research and scholarship also include the larger impact of society on individual wellbeing, best practices in psychotherapy with birthing families, children and adolescents, as well as eco-psychology, sustainability, and social justice.

Jonathan W. Thompson II
Diversity Director for the Santa Barbara Chapter of Marriage and Family Therapists (SBCAMFT), Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee member for State CAMFT, Elected clinical-director-at-large for State CAMFT (June 2023)

Jonathan W. Thompson II, MA, LMFT, APCC, is a licensed psychotherapist and registered associate professional clinical counselor.  He provides culturally responsive psychotherapy in his work with children, adolescents, adults, resource parents and to those who identify as BIPOC. Jonathan was recognized in 2022 by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors as one of nineteen Black healers in our local community.  He is passionate about working with therapists in ways that they can have a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and just practice.  In our local community, he has started community conversations named “Tea with JT” to provide an on-ramp for clinicians to start to talk about race, culture, and those populations not considered in the “majority.”  When not in his role as a therapist he volunteers working with children, enjoys the outdoors, and you may see him in the community with his adorable French bulldog, Mr. Blu.

Ramona Winner
Family Advocate, Mental Wellness Center/NAMI Santa Barbara County

Ramona Winner is the Family Advocate for Mental Wellness Center and NAMI Santa Barbara County.  She works with families in crisis looking for community resources and options for supporting a loved-one living with a mental illness.  Ramona has provided services for hundreds of individuals over the last 8 years navigating our mental health system in and out of jail or mental health facilities.  Her motto is:  In helping others, we help ourselves.