Mental Health America (MHA)
Mental Health America was founded in 1909. It’s the leading community-based nonprofit based in the United States dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.
Much of our work is guided by the Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process. When we think about diseases like cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait for years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to reverse and hopefully stop the progression of the disease.
So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness? Like other diseases, we need to address these symptoms early, identify the underlying disease, and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health. MHA is committed to addressing mental health Before Stage 4.
The work of Mental Health America supports three primary areas of focus; policy and advocacy, education and outreach, and information and referral services while ensuring that the rights and dignity of individuals with lived experiences and their voices are integrated into all areas of the organization.
MHA collaborates with a wide audience of affiliates and supporters to advance policy recommendations that promote our mission. This work is done through federal and state policy activities, the Regional Policy Council, and our yearly State of Mental Health in America report.
Education and Outreach:
MHA helps individuals of all ages better understand prevention, early identification, and intervention through a variety of information, online tools, and events. These include our yearly campaigns for Mental Health Month, Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, Back to School, Life on Campus, Workplace Wellness, and our annual conference. Additionally, our online mental health screening program, www.mhascreening.org, provides a collection of online, free, confidential, and validated screening tools that can help an individual understand and learn about their mental health.
MHA works to provide direct connections in communities through our MHA Affiliate Network. Made up of more than 200 affiliates spread across more than 41 states, 6,500 affiliate staff, and over 10,000 volunteers, our affiliates are committed to bringing support and advocacy to communities around the country. MHA affiliates serve as local leaders in the support and development of consumer-run initiatives and primary prevention programs. In addition to providing services, affiliate offices are an excellent resource for information including treatment, direct services, prescription assistance, community legal and advocacy services, and other important community services.
MHA is dedicated to ensuring the legacy of Clifford Beers, a person with lived experience, and as focused on the inclusion and integration of peers across all of our programmatic areas with a focus on self-directed care and recovery. Through grassroots organizing and interactive instruction, our nationally and internationally recognized staff offers workshops and tools for organizational development, business management, and leadership skills.
MHA is also spearheading peer-led initiatives such as our It’s My Life – Social Self-Directed Care program and the first national peer support credential, the MHA National
Certified Peer Specialist credential, which maintains the highest standards of skills, training, and experience in the country.