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Martin Starr

"Most of the kids we work with have broken hearts," says Martin Starr, mental health specialist for Lane County's Department of Youth Services. "I hear the saddest stories, every horrible thing that can happen to a kid." A graduate of Sacred Heart U in Connecticut, Starr began work in drug rehab straight out of school, and met his wife Sandra while working in Maine. After the wedding, they came west to study social work in Berkeley, then moved to Eugene. Sandra is a social worker at the Child Center, and Martin has been at Youth Services for nine years. "I do assessments," he says, noting that substance abuse and mental illness assessments send kids to different programs with separate budgets. "Everybody I see has co-occurring disorders. It's my job to figure it out." Starr also spends time with kids at risk of suicide. "I talk about love every day," he says. "I have a personal mission to increase love in the world. Not just feeling, but right action." In October of '07, Starr received a Mental Health Award for Excellence from the state's Addictions & Mental Health Division.


happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 29 November 2007

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