Supporting Youth Mental Health

By Lynda Millner   |   May 24, 2022
Maria McCall, Sandy Nordahl, Marni Cooney, and Linda Sissler for FSA

Family Service Agency (FSA) gave its annual fundraiser at Rockwood Woman’s Club. It began under the oaks on the terrace with a variety of wine, trays of heavy hors d’oeuvres, and music by a great combo. Co-chairs of this fête were Marni Cooney and Sandy Nordahl helped by Katya Armistead, Halle BedfordDyer, and Kathy O’Leary.

Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson with Family Service Agency board member Jane Sweeney

The evening was all about mental health, especially in regard to our youth. Here to answer questions was an expert in child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson. Dr. Vinson is a triple board-certified physician who specializes in this field. She has spoken in many venues including PBS NewsHour, The Guardian, Washington Times, and the Roland Martin Show. Also, Atlanta local media such as 11Alive and Atlanta NPR. She has spoken on a variety of subjects including technology and children’s mental health, mental health impacts of COVID, school transitions, personal and career alignment, and women and money. Dr. Vinson has co-edited two textbooks regarding mental health including chapters on child trauma, social media, children’s mental health and the credits go on.

According to FSA Executive Director Lisa Brabo, “This event offers an opportunity to take a step towards becoming an informed and more unified community in supporting the mental health of our youth.” The U.S. Surgeon General’s recent advisory on the youth mental health crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the issues that FSA and other youth-serving organizations are seeing across Santa Barbara County. More children and adolescents are experiencing challenges to emotional well-being including documented increases in anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideas.

Besides a Q&A, there was a paddle raise that goes to FSA’s Santa Maria Youth & Family Center and Guadalupe’s Little House By The Park. Presenting sponsors were Tania and John Burke and Marni and Michael Cooney, plus many other levels of sponsors. “FSA’s mission is to strengthen and advocate for families and individuals of all ages and diversities, helping to create and preserve a healthy community.” To learn more call (805) 965-1001 or visit


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