What is the organization and purpose of Mental Health America?

Mental Health America (MHA) is a leading national organization dedicated to promoting mental health and well-being for all individuals. Founded in 1909, MHA has been at the forefront of advocating for policies and programs that support mental health and providing resources and support for those living with mental illness. The organization’s mission is to educate the public, advocate for changes in policies and legislation, and provide support and resources to those in need. In this essay, we will explore the organization and purpose of Mental Health America, and the impact it has had in improving mental health care in the United States.

Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is a nonprofit organization located in Alexandria, Virginia, dedicated to helping all people live mentally healthier lives, especially individuals living with mental illnesses.

With more than 320 affiliated organizations around the country (on the state and local levels), Mental Health America represents a movement of people who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation. The local and state affiliates have either “Mental Health Association” or “Mental Health America” in their names. Each affiliated organization serves its area and focuses on advocacy, public education, services and/or research.

The organization, celebrating its centennial in 2009, was founded in 1909 by Clifford Whittingham Beers, a young businessman who had a mental illness and shared his experience in his autobiography A Mind That Found Itself. Beers created the national citizens’ group to promote mental health and improve conditions for children and adults living with these health problems through establishing what we now know as Mental Health America. It was a revolutionary act at the time and attracted national leaders, including the philosopher William James, philanthropist Elizabeth Milbank Anderson and the Rockefeller family.

Mental Health America’s symbol is a 300-pound bell, cast by the McShane Bell Foundry in 1956 from metal shackles formerly used to bind patients. It bears the following inscription: “Cast from shackles which bound them, this bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness.”

Mental Health America’s chapters in California were instrumental in the 2004 campaign for California Proposition 63, The Mental Health Services Act, which raised additional money for mental health services in California.

Listen To Children a chapter of the South Florida Mental Health association pairs trained and supervised Mental Health Association volunteers with children who are projected to benefit from a supportive relationship with a caring adult friend. Listener volunteers receive extensive training in listening skills, aspects of child and adolescent development, and in nonjudgmental communication.

The primary goal of the Listen to Children program is to establish a relationship with a child, or children, which facilitates the following outcomes for the child: enhanced self esteem, improved communication skills, development of decision making and problem solving skills.

The Church of Scientology applied a confusingly similar name to a front group called the National Mental Health Assistance. The two groups are unrelated.

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