Remembrance, Healing, and Mental Health Events Planned


Janani Ravikumar
Staff Writer

A series of remembrance events have been planned in order to help students at the University of California, Santa Barbara and residents of Isla Vista heal in light of the one-year anniversary of the events of May 23, 2014. The shooting on Sabado Tarde on May 11, 2015 especially inspired students to come together in order to support and help each other through this difficult time.

“Given the sudden and unexpected nature of tragic events, one’s sense of safety, security, and coping mechanisms may be impacted,” said Dr. Shane Jimerson, chair of the Clinical Counseling, and School Psychology program in the Gevirtz School of Education. “For those unsettled, distressed, or experiencing other challenges following a tragic event, it is often helpful to receive support from family, friends, and professionals. Accessing and using professional support services such as counseling services are helpful for many individuals in the days, weeks, and months following a tragic experience.”

Remembrance events scheduled for next week include a week-long healing space hosted in the A.S. Pardall Center in IV, an exhibition focusing on memorials and outside support in Old Gym, a ceremony to dedicate a botanical garden with six commemorative benches at People’s Park, and various talks and discussions from faculty that focus on healing and solidarity.

“I think the events will bring people together and show the amount of love and support that exists on our campus and in Isla Vista,” said Yasmin Irfani, a student working with the project Destigmatize Counseling. “It must have taken so much time, effort, and dedication to put on these events and I am sure they will benefit students in different ways.”

In light of the recent shooting on Sabado Tarde, and the upcoming one-year anniversary of the May 23 tragedy, UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services is encouraging students to reach out for professional help.

“Tragedy is certainly when mental health programs are publicized the most,” said Brianna Maria Taylor, another student working with Destigmatize Counseling. “The night of Monday, May 11, for instance, I saw at least 25 Facebook posts with the phone numbers to CAPS and other hotlines.”

In such a difficult time, it is important for students who are struggling to reach out for professional help.

“The support of professionals, friends, and family are each important to help students experiencing challenges,” said Jimerson. “If students have friends or others whom they are concerned about, they should encourage and possibly accompany those students to UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services to receive support from professionals who can help.”

Most importantly, students can help each other by expressing empathy and positivity with one another.

“Even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way,” said Irfani. “You never know how much a thoughtful text, a random hug, or even a smile can brighten someone’s day. Radiate love and positive vibes wherever you go, and don’t be hard on yourself when you aren’t feeling your best.”