April 28, 2000

An Open Letter

A Letter From Alfredo Aguirre, LCSW. Director of Children's Mental Health Services

Dear Citizen of San Diego County:

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alfredo Aguirre and since September 1999 I have been the Children's Mental Health Director for San Diego County. San Diego is developing a community based, comprehensive system of care for children and youth and their families. I work closely with partner agencies, including probation, child welfare, special education, family members and private providers to build a system to help youth achieve good outcomes in the home, community and school.

On behalf of Children's Mental Health Services of San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency, I encourage your organization or group to recognize May as Mental Month. This is an important month to "stomp out stigma" of mental illness and the emotional, behavior and biological disorders of childhood/adolescence. I support all efforts to recognize that only through a joint effort of professionals, community and family will these disorders be effectively addressed so that all children and adolescents can have healthy outcomes in school and in the community.

Prior to my position in San Diego, I was Deputy Director for San Mateo County Mental Health for six years, responsible for the Child and Youth System of Care. I have worked in community mental health for the past 20 years as a psychiatric social worker, staff supervisor, clinic manager and system wide manager.

I have a special interest in cultural competence development in systems and communities. I authored an article, Community Mental Health Services in a Managed Care Environment: "10 key issues in Promoting Cultural Competence", published in Promoting Cultural Competence in Children's Mental Health Services (Mario Hernandez and Mareasa R. Isaacs, eds.) in 1999.

I was born in Oakland to immigrants from El Salvador. I grew up in a bilingual environment in San Mateo, California. I received my Masters Degree in Social Welfare in 1978 from University of California at Berkeley and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Once again, please join me in recognizing May as Mental Health Month.


Alfredo Aguirre, L.C.S.W.
Children's Mental Health Director
San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency
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