Staff Report

Julie Kessler Solomon has been named chair of the Mental Wellness Center Board of Directors. Also joining the board are Eric Jackson and LaRisa Chambers.

Solomon, a former marketing executive, is a Realtor with Compass in Santa Barbara. Her passion for improving the conditions for mental health in the community developed from her work with the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI) Santa Barbara chapter. She taught in NAMI’s Family to Family program for seven years.

Solomon continues her membership on the NAMI steering and public policy committees. Her record of service to the community includes board leadership positions with Phoenix of Santa Barbara, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Women’s Economic Ventures.

She has also served as a planning commissioner for the city of Goleta and as a member of the Santa Barbara County Human Services Commission. Currently, she is a member of the Santa Barbara Women’s Fund.

“This is a pivotal moment for mental health; never before has there been such strong recognition of the value good mental health plays in the vitality of our community,” Solomon said. “The Mental Wellness Center provides a completely unique array of resources; outreach, education, advocacy, housing, and — on a daily basis — meals for those who would otherwise go without.

“We have an outstanding staff and board, and look forward to increasing and extending our services to younger people as one of our principal goals for 2021.”

Jackson is a UCSB graduate and holds an MBA from the University of La Verne with an emphasis in information technology. He works in the software industry and teaches technology courses at the SBCC School of Extended Learning.

Chambers moved to Santa Barbara in 2019. She serves as the senior gift officer for Cottage Health. Chambers graduated from the University of Kansas and worked for the American Cancer Society and KU Endowment. While living in Lawrence, Kansas, she served on several nonprofit and community boards, including the Endowment Board of the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

The Mental Wellness Center is a nonprofit organization that works to raise awareness around mental health by providing supportive programming, education, and housing in Santa Barbara.

For more visit For questions or to donate to the Mental Wellness Center, contact Amanda Conroy, development and marketing director, at