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Celebrating 107 Years

by Casey Dillon, Advocacy Associate

February 19th, 2016 marks Mental Health America's 107th birthday! To celebrate, we asked our network to share reasons to celebrate MHA, its history, and its affiliates. Here’s what they had to say: 

  1. MHA National is (to my knowledge) the first organization to be founded by a person who openly acknowledged his lived experience of mental illness (Clifford Beers).
    Clifford W. Beers
  2. Mental Health America's focus on early intervention is a great example of how the mental health system should shift its focus. Less reactive -- more proactive. Thanks for all the great advocacy work you do!
  3. MHA in Ulster County, Inc.’s mission is to engage all people in achieving their optimal mental health.
  4. MHA of Middle Tennessee’s “Don’t Duck Mental Health” program serves 20,000 students in 25 counties annually.
  5. Nationally, MHA focuses on the full continuum of care: prevention, treatment, recovery, inclusion, and more.
  6. MHA of Middle Tennessee is a neutral convener with a 70-year reputation of collaboration.
  7. Learning to advocate through MHA changed how I thought [you could also say think but it was 30 years ago] about mental illness.
  8. MHA supports members of the military community through resources, screening tools, and more! 
  9. 1 in 4 older adults experiences some type of mental illness, including depression and anxiety disorders. MHA helps older adults learn more about mental illness + access the mental health resources they need!
  10. MHA of Licking County helped me overcome negative emotions.
  11. MHA of Dubuque promotes a feeling of strength in our community and engages in much needed conversation that improves the lives of those who struggle with mental health. Past MHA President of Dubuque County said, “Whether or not we have a mental illness, or know someone who has experienced it, we all have mental health which helps us cope with daily life and its challenges. When our mental health is good we can deal better with what comes our way.”
  12. MHA introduced 21st Century America to #B4Stage4 thinking.
  13. I have had a surge of hope and optimism since participating in programs at MHA of Licking County.
  14. Mental Health America’s affiliates are the most progressive voices for mental health advocacy throughout the nation.
  15. Because of the work of Mental Health America in 1949, May is Mental Health Month.
  16. Mental Health America gave birth to the modern mental health advocacy movement.
  17. Participating at MHA of Licking County has been helping to restore a confidence in myself I thought was lost forever.
  18. MHA is here to respond when our children and young people first seek help.
  19. MHA of Greater Houston shares hope and transforms lives.
  20. Mental Health America of Los Angeles Partners with local businesses! Thanks to The Lodge, our Members are provided with a free haircut and hot towel shave every other month. Whether its self-care or to land a new job! Love from The Lodge has made a difference in so many ways.
    MHA of Los Angeles - The Lodge
  21. In 1910, MHA facilitated the creation of more than 100 child guidance clinics in the US aimed at prevention, early intervention, and treatment.
  22. MHA of Licking County’s program…educates students on how they can look out for themselves and each other.
  23. MHA helped me become mental health first aid certified: a critically important collection of skills everyone should have!
  24. MHA of Northeast Indiana provided assistance and education to more than 3,400 people in 2015.
  25. MHA of Licking County’s program gives students practical tools that they can use to promote mental health.
  26. Through mhascreening.org, MHA is making screening for mental health accessible to everyone, and as common as screening for vision, hearing, and oral health.
  27. MHA Houston is working to prevent mental health issues in children by convening the School Behavioral Health Initiative.
  28. Because of Mental Health America, we now know that people can recover from even serious mental illnesses – especially if we respect their dignity and give them choices in treatment.
  29. Mental Health America changes lives.
  30. Mental Health America changes the way policy leaders, media, and the public think about mental illnesses and mental health.
  31. Mental Health America is the biggest mental health tent in the nation, with room for everyone in it.
  32. In 1963, Congress passed the “Community Mental Health Centers Act” (CMHC) authorizing construction grants for community mental health centers.  Mental Health America played a key role in having this legislation enacted and signed by President Kennedy.
  33. Mental Health America added lay voices to mental health advocacy in the early 20th century, and made those voices powerful.
  34. Mental Health America understands the power of collaboration in solving mental health problems – in policy and in practice.
  35. MHA promotes workplace wellness -- including flexible work -- because a healthy workplace is a win/win for employers and employees.
  36. MHA advocates for the mental wellness of athletes.
  37. MHA of Greater Houston acknowledges that people recover from mental health issues and we celebrate their success.
    MHA of Greater Houston
  38. Mental Health America understands the power of prevention.
  39. MHA of Greater Houston gets people and communities talking about mental illnesses, treatments and preventions that are available to us all.
  40. MHA of Monmouth County’s Sandy Wellness Program… Helping more than 5,000 hurricane survivors find their strength after the storm.
  41. MHA of Licking County’s program has taught me…about my past and how to move forward.
  42. A reason to celebrate MHA – We have the best staff.  It’s a joy to come to work every day and work with this great team.
  43. It’s wonderful that an organization can shine such a bright light on mental illnesses.
  44. MHA of Porter County serves over 300 persons annually providing emergency assistance to pay for prescriptions to treat mental illness and addiction—giving them the ability to remain compliant in treatment and improving their quality of life!
  45. MHA leads advocacy for social justice for those impacted by mental illness.
  46. MHA provides advocacy leadership to improve the lives of those with mental illness.
  47. MHA Houston helps ensure that new mothers experiencing postpartum depression get the support they need to be healthy and happy – for themselves and their children!
  48. MHA gives a resounding voice to mental health consumers.
  49. MHA = stigma buster.
  50. Because MHA’s Annual Conference is not just the conference you NEED to attend, it’s the conference you WANT to attend.
  51. We encourage people to get help before they reach crisis mode, or #B4Stage4.
  52. We believe that there is no health without mental health.
  53. MHA is consumer-focused, so we enable individuals with mental health conditions to feel like they have dignity and control over their own selves.
  54. MHA is staffed with people who are passionate about mental well-being.
  55. MHA of Licking County’s program has a positive impact on our school culture and climate.
  56. MHA is full of diverse opinions and all are respected and welcome.
  57. MHA continues the mental health advocacy movement to “fight in the open” begun by its founder, Clifford Beers.
  58. MHA of East TN received the Psychiatric Achievement award from APA for its early intervention program in schools, Mental Health 101 which has served 128,000 middle and high school youth since 2008.
    MHA of East Tennessee
  59. MHA of Dutchess County, Bringing Wellness Home; It’s where help is and where hope lives!!! 
  60. Recovery is Real.
  61. MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania played a key role in changing a Pennsylvania regulation so that parents would no longer have to relinquish custody in order to obtain residential mental health services for their Medicaid-eligible children!
  62. MHA Houston advocates for legislative solutions that address the vast unmet need for public mental health services.
  63. This MHA of Porter County client is a success story!! She has moved in 2 years from homeless and struggling with addictions and additional mental health issues to remaining compliant in treatment, has her own apartment and working part-time! What a pleasure it is to see the emergency funds make a difference.
    MHA of Porter County
  64. MHA of Central Susquehanna Valley works to fight stigma by treating people with mental illness as equals, deserving of respect.
  65. MHA makes a difference in people's lives.
  66. In 1930, MHA convened the First International Congress on Mental Hygiene in Washington D.C., bringing together more than 3,000 individuals from 41 countries.
  67. MHA of Georgia's Kids on the Block program uses puppetry as a therapeutic tool to encourage young children to talk about their feelings and problems.
  68. MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania developed one of the first workshops for families affected by borderline personality disorder!
  69. In 1946, the “National Mental Health Act,” which created the National Institute of Mental Health, passed as a result of Mental Health America’s advocacy.
  70. MHA of Knox County (Indiana) promotes Infant and Toddler Mental Health through distribution of the 0-3 Healthy Minds Newsletter to all new parents leaving the local hospital.
  71. MHA of Montana is assisting rural/frontier communities in developing community-based solutions like mentoring to serve youth at-risk and in crisis
  72. MHA is the voice of lived experience.
  73. MHA is about mental "health" not just mental illness.
  74. We celebrate MHA for giving us the ability to help so many people and families in our area.
  75. MHA has the Bell...that never lets us forget why they do what they do.
  76. MHA of Georgia empowers individuals with mental illness by coaching them to share their personal stories of recovery to a broad range of audiences in Georgia.
  77. We celebrate with you all of the efforts to educate, raise awareness, and provide resources on mental health issues
  78. In 1917, at the request of the Surgeon General, MHA drafted a mental "hygiene" program, which was adopted by the Army and the Navy, in preparation for the First World War.
  79. In the 1980s, MHA's public policy initiative resulted in the passage of the Protection and Advocacy for the Mentally Ill Act by Congress.
  80. In 1990, MHA and the American Red Cross jointly published and distributed more than 250,000 copies of When the Yellow Ribbons Come Down, a guidebook to help Operation Desert Storm veterans and their families cope with readjusting to life at home.
  81. MHA believes recovery is attainable.
  82. In 2002, MHA released the first-ever survey of children that reported that 78 percent of teens who were gay or thought to be gay were teased or bullied in their schools and communities.
  83. MHA of Northeast Indiana is the founding agency of the STOP Suicide Northeast Indiana Coalition.
  84. In 2005, MHA's advocacy resulted in a landmark Supreme Court ruling declaring the death penalty for juvenile offenders unconstitutional, thereby removing 73 individuals from death row.
  85. MHA is dedicated to change the way we think about mental illness and mental health.
  86. MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania has earned an international reputation for designing and implementing dozens of peer-to-peer services, including peer-run homeless outreach, employment and residential services!
    MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania - Joseph Rogers
  87. MHA welcomes social inclusion in the community.
  88. MHA fights for Social Justice.
  89. Everyone believes in recovery and dignity—staff, board, volunteers, and affiliates!
  90. I want to celebrate MHA because it’s a reminder to not be silent about mental health.
  91. MHA of Georgia is contributing to the Mental Health First Aid movement by training over 450 individuals in adult and youth Mental Health First Aid in just one year.
  92. I need friends to pull me out of the anxiety-shame spiral.
  93. MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania helped close Philadelphia State Hospital and helped ensure that the people released, and those who might have been hospitalized in the future, were well served in the community!
  94. Each week, Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri provides financial management services and stability to 130 individuals who receive SSDI benefits.
  95. Homelessness or Incarceration is NOT treatment.
  96. I want the power to make decisions about my own care.
  97. We need to act B4Stage4.
  98. For more than 80 years, Mental Health America of Texas has greatly impacted state policies on mental health, substance use and suicide prevention through advocacy and education.
  99. We’re not going to ignore mental illness.
  100. MHA of Georgia is working to promote maternal mental health by connecting mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression with mothers who experienced and overcame the same challenges.
  101. I want to celebrate MHA because it’s a reminder that when things get bad – that I’ve done this. I know how to get out.
  102. MHA played a leading role in the development of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects mentally and physically disabled Americans from discrimination in such areas as employment, public accommodations, transportation, telecommunications, and state and local government services.
  103. MHA of Georgia is the voice for all stakeholders in the movement for better mental health services, prevention and de-stigmatization.
  104. MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania designed and created the first national technical assistance center serving the consumer/survivor/ex-patient (c/s/x) movement for social justice, in 1986!
    MHA of Southeastern Pennsylvania - Johnathan Evans and Tyrone Ferguson
  105. Through Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri's Mental Wellness Seminar program, we've helped more than 10,000 individuals live mentally healthier lives and have grown our advocacy base to more than 6,000.
  106. MHA connects individuals in need with enthusiastic and knowledgeable advocates.
  107. Mental Health America advocates for open discussion of mental health issues and appropriate treatment throughout the lifespan, and especially to avoid incarceration or addiction of the mentally ill, who rightly belong in treatment.

Thank you for celebrating our 107th birthday with us!

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