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County receives funds for fire victim mental health services


Last updated 4/24/2008 at Noon

SAN DIEGO — As fire victims continue to rebuild their homes and lives, the County of San Diego Mental Health Services’ community outreach workers have been helping them restore their sense of balance and normalcy.

Thanks to a $2 million FEMA grant, the County will continue providing mental health services beyond the one-year anniversary of the fires.

“This is great news for fire victims. Thanks to this new FEMA grant, the County’s Mental Health Services will be able to continue providing the help fire victims need to rebuild their lives and their emotional wellbeing,” said Alfredo Aguirre, director of the County’s Mental Health Services division. “When a disaster strikes, it’s natural for victims to express disbelief, sadness, anxiety and depression in the days, weeks and months that follow.”

Since November, 36 outreach workers have been going door-to-door, providing mental health services and referrals in the Ramona, Fallbrook and Jamul-Dulzura communities.

To date, during individual visits, mental health counselors have assisted more than 500 children and teens impacted by the fires, 2,300 people ages 18 to 64 and 400 older adults.

Furthermore, they have reached more than 13,800 people at group and community settings and have distributed information to more than 105,000 people.

The $2 million grant, which started April 15, allows outreach workers to continue providing mental health services for an additional nine months, well past the first anniversary of the fires, when feelings of anger, desperation and hopelessness tend to resurface.

Fire victims in need of mental health services should call the County’s Access and Crisis Line at (800) 479-3339.


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