Member Spotlight: Mental Health America
By Katherine Scott, Senior Manager, Membership Services and Certifications
Founded in 1909 by Clifford W. Beers, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. MHA’s work is driven by its 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. During his stays in public and private institutions, Beers witnessed and was subjected to horrible abuse. From these experiences, Beers set into motion a reform movement that took shape and is known today as Mental Health America.
Much of MHA’s work is guided by its 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 years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to stop and hopefully reverse the progression of the disease. Like other diseases, it is critical to address symptoms early and plan an appropriate course of action on a path toward overall health.
MHA’s programs and initiatives fulfill its mission of promoting mental health and preventing mental illness through advocacy, education, research, and services. MHA’s national office and its 200+ affiliates and associates around the country work every day to protect the rights and dignity of individuals with lived experience and ensure that peers and their voices are integrated into all areas of the organization.
MHA is proud to be a member of the National Health Council (NHC) and lend a behavioral health lens to the collaborative discussions driving patient-centered health policy and policy solutions. MHA’s president and CEO Paul Gionfriddo sits on the board of NHC, helping to guide the NHC in meeting its mission to provide a united voice for people with chronic conditions and their family caregivers.
MHA has been at the forefront in the last few weeks as the growing crisis of COVID-19 has unfolded, creating and directing the public to content on anxiety and mental health resources, including a dedicated webpage on mental health and COVID-19, a microsite specific to anxiety, as well as real-time statistics from our Screening to Supports program.