Mental Health America: Helping Us Live Mentally Healthier Lives Since 1909 | Mental Health America

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Mental Health America: Helping Us Live Mentally Healthier Lives Since 1909

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By: Hayley Matthews

The 411: For the past 106 years, Mental Health America has been the nation’s leading non-profit committed to reducing the stigma around mental illness and promoting open dialogues, with a particular focus on the LGBTQ community. 

Mental illness is often a sensitive topic that people would rather avoid discussing, especially those who are personally affected and fear judgment from others. It can be even harder for teens, in particular LGBTQ youth, who may already be facing discrimination for other reasons.

Mental Health America is there to make these conversations easier and provide the best resources and support you could ever find.

Not only is MHA celebrating its 106th birthday this year, but the respected organization is also celebrating Mental Health Month, a campaign they created 50 years ago with the hopes of encouraging Americans to openly talk about mental illness and live mentally healthier lives.

Much of MHA’s work focuses on promoting mental health as an important part of overall health, including prevention services, intervention tools, integrated care and a “Before Stage 4″ philosophy — treating mental health conditions before they reach a crisis phase.

MHA was established by former psychiatric patient Clifford W. Beers. 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 as Mental Health America.

“MHA was founded by an individual, so MHA tries to always focus on those individual rights when addressing mental health and mental illness,” said Erin Wallace, senior director of communications and marketing. “We try to balance what we advocate for and what we support based on what individuals with mental health concerns need. We need to focus on their rights as well as the rights of the overall population.”

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