Robert Tauber

robert tauber

Clinical Supervisor, Program Director, Consultant
Patriarch of the Fellowship Club
Intern supervisor

It was Bob Tauber’s job as director of UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Institute’s Public-Academic Liaison (PAL) Project that first connected him to the Mental Wellness Center. He had been hired by UCLA to test independent living skills modules for adults with serious mental illness in Santa Barbara County, and the Mental Health Association (as it was previously named) was a partner agency in supporting this work. Additionally, in his work for UCLA, Bob co-authored training programs related to helping clients learn the skills to have successful and satisfying work experiences as well as learning the skills to develop friendship and intimacy in relationships. With the support of Annmarie Cameron and Patricia Collins, he agreed to run pilot programs at the Mental Health Association in order to gain valuable feedback from the participants about these programs.

Later, in his UCLA work with the Mental Wellness Center, Bob’s significant contribution was born. In order to test skills in the workplace, Bob created a business to put his theories into practice. That was the origin of the “Care Closet,” a place for Fellowship Club members to shop and work. The store allowed Bob to observe the clients working in the Care Closet in action. The Care Closet appeared to provide enormous benefit to Fellowship Club participants. They got to work in the store, giving them purpose and a small stipend, while helping client customers shop for gently used clothing.

After Bob’s UCLA PAL Project work ended, in 2006, Bob formalized his relationship with the Mental Wellness Center by accepting a position as clinical supervisor and later as program director. Bob’s background, which includes a master’s degree in family therapy and a license as a marriage and family therapist qualified him to handle many roles at the Mental Wellness Center. And over his nearly twenty years with the organization, he impacted a wide range of programs and services.

He trained staff, volunteers and interns; developed and spearheaded programs for adults with mental illness, including the Fellowship Club. Bob was also significantly involved in the Garden Street Apartments project, working closely with the Mental Wellness Center and the Santa Barbara Housing Authority to create an equitable structure for interviewing and assessing residents with significant mental health challenges applying for an apartment.

Bob identified one of his proudest contributions while working at the Mental Wellness Center as helping advance the careers of the staff who were working, many for the first time, with clients living with the challenges of serious mental health issues. “I am really proud of my recruitment and training of staff who were mostly trainees and interns, and supporting and developing them to pursue lifelong careers in the mental health field,” he said.

Another proud accomplishment for Bob was his participation as one of the founding group members of the Mental Health Arts Festival, which continues into its third decade this year.

Reflecting back now, Bob said one of the things that still resonates with him is the incredible support he received from the administrators of the Mental Wellness Center. When he came up with a new idea for an activity or service, he was given the freedom and encouragement to pursue it. This included the programming that has been instrumental in defining the Fellowship Club as “a place TO BE who you are…and TO BECOME who you want to be.”