About Us

A Legacy of Leadership

Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health Executive Director Deborah Saxhaug to Retire

April 24, 2021

After nearly 30 years at the helm of the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health (MACMH), our Executive Director Deborah Saxhaug will be retiring in June, following two years of planning for the transition.

Deborah came aboard as MACMH’s first executive director in 1992, three years after the organization was founded. Since then, she has shaped MACMH into a leading voice on children’s mental health throughout Minnesota and beyond. 

Under Deborah’s leadership, MACMH has provided education and resources to thousands of professionals, families and youth across the state.

One of her many achievements, Deborah built MACMH’s annual Child & Adolescent Mental Health Conference into one of the largest of its kind in the country – growing from 400 participants in the first year to nearly 2,000 attendees now in its 25th year.

She also passionately advanced the effort to incorporate and broaden mental health services in schools – helping to transform the landscape of children’s mental health within the education system.

“Through the years, Deborah has made sure our mission to promote positive mental health for all infants, children, adolescents and their families has remained at the center of our work,” MACMH Board President Danny Porter shared. “She will be greatly missed in the field, but her influence will always be felt at MACMH.”

Deborah’s commitment to the field of children’s mental health extends far beyond her role as Executive Director. She has served on the State Advisory Council’s Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health, the Emotional/Behavioral Disorder Leadership Committee for the Minnesota Department of Education and the State Leadership Team for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, among many others.

In 2018, she received an award from NAMI Minnesota for her decades of service supporting children with mental health disorders. “Deborah has been a wonderful collaborator and partner, advocating for a system that is informed by parents and guided by youth,” shared Sue Abderholden, NAMI Minnesota Executive Director. “The children’s mental health system is better thanks to her.”

The search for MACMH’s next Executive Director is entering its final stages, and we look forward to sharing an update with you in the coming weeks.

We hope you’ll join us in wishing Deborah well as she begins this new chapter and celebrating all she has done throughout her 40-year career to promote positive mental health for infants, children, adolescents and their families.