Long after the chaos of a disaster is resolved, the ongoing effects become clear. Over the fall, nearly one year after the October 2017 fires, Sonoma County was in a critical stage of post-disaster recovery.
This phase of the recovery process, when some people are beginning to heal, and others are feeling left behind, has been called a “second disaster.” Presenting new adversity, loss, conflict, and trauma.
Addressing the long-term effects of trauma is crucial to the overall health and resiliency of our community. Knowing this, we invested in mental health resources that could break down stigmas, and help people access the care they need.
Our grant to Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County supported the Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative to launch a public awareness campaign in both English and Spanish to help people identify signs of trauma, reduce the stigma of seeking support, and inform community members about mental health resources in the community.
The campaign was launched in concert with the anniversary of the fires, and was immediately visible throughout the county. The Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative placed advertisements on local buses, billboards, newspapers, magazines, TV and radio.
Campaign messages were meant to bring awareness and to help to de-stigmatize the underlying feelings of stress and anxiety many people were feeling.
They also encouraged access to the free resources available to help our community heal, including: the Sonoma Rises app (pictured below) the
mysonomastrong.com website, and to the local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline for direct referral to care, including free yoga and free individual and group therapy.
“We’ve spent a lot of time working to build free mental health resources for our community to access in English and Spanish and the media campaign is our way of letting everyone know that we were all affected by the fires. It is important that everyone feel comfortable and have access to support for healing and becoming more resilient,” said Debbie Mason, CEO, Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County.
Learn more about Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County by visiting