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We are Mental Health America! We are bringing wellness home.

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In a recent article on NAMI, I briefly discussed Mental Health America [MHA], formerly known as the Mental Health Association. I pointed out that while there seemed to be some overlap in purpose, the focus of the two organizations is somewhat different. While NAMI seems to focus on improving the lives of persons and their families living with serious mental illness, Mental Health America's [MHA] mission seems much broader. MHA is the country's leading non-profit organization dedicated to helping ALL people lead mentally healthier lives.

Before I go any further, I should point out that there is a warm spot in my heart for MHA. That came about because during my interview in 1980 for Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Community Mental Health Agencies [IACMHA] at the regional Airport in Springfield, Illinois, I learned that one of IACMHA's Board Members, also active in the Illinois Mental Health Association, had called the Executive Director of the Oregon Mental Health Association about me [Oregon was where I had been formerly employed]. He had given a very positve recommendation indicating tha IACHMA should hire me. What followed was a very interesting and sometimes exciting seven years in Illinois. That's where I had to deal with State Representative Denny Hastert who I said then and again more recently, I thought was "dumber than a box of rocks".

In any event, MHA appears, today, to be a vibrant grassroots organization which believes that it's cause should matter to all Americans. MHA is " dedicated to promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research and service". MHA " envisions a just, humane and healthy society in which all people are accorded respect, dignity, and the opportunity to achieve thier full potential free from stigma and prejudice". Further, Mental Health America believes it represents " a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis". MHA, in it's Web Site, defines mental health in terms of coping skills. How well we cope with the problems and challenges of daily life determines the state of our mental health. Most people may not think about their mental health.They tend to take it for granted. Some people, when they do think about it, define it as a state of mind. Our mental health is such a basic part of who we are that it doesn't seem to need much thought when compared to handling everything else that's going on in our lives and in the broader world.

The mission of MHA clear, it believes that good mental health is fundemental to the well-being of America as a whole and every person in the nation. This means it wants all people to understand how to protrct and improve their mental health; to know when to get help for themselves or others close to them, such as family members; to assure that our nations schools,businesses and healthcare systems have the resources and knowledge they need to assure good mental health for their constituencies.

It is here that I may disagree with some of what MHA is trying to do do because it also includes assuring that businesses have the resources to support their constituencues. I'm not sure I can agree with that , even if I knew what it means and what all that entails. It seems to me that the actions of large corporations, at least, have been and continue to be detrimental to the mental health of everyone, especially their employees.

MHA's agenda also includes, among other things, wanting all Americans to have access to high quality, affordable and personslized preventive, early identification and treatment services; persons with disabling mental illnesses to receive the support, treatment and services that they need to recover; more research and services focused on prevention, recovery and cures. It will advance it's mission by educating the public, fighting for access to effective treatment, ending discrimination against people with mental disorders, fostering innovation in research and practice.

As you can see MHA has a very ambitious mission, as does NAMI. I urge all of you to join one or both these organizations as is appropriate in your situation. They both do worthwhile work and can use all the help they can get.

 

An OEN Editor. Born-03/20/1934, BA Pol. Sci.-U of Washington-1956, MBA-Seattle U-1970, Boeing-Program Control-1957-1971, State of Oregon-Mental Health Division-Deputy Admistrator-1971-1979, llinois Association of Community MH (more...)
 
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