A Mental Health America affiliate is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization, that provides mental health advocacy, education and services to a specific service area, such as a state, county or metropolitan area. Mental Health America affiliates bring together mental health consumers, parents, advocates and service providers for collaboration and action to inform, support and enable mental wellness, and emphasize recovery from mental illness.
Affiliates provide public education, information and referral, support groups, rehabilitation services as well as socialization and housing services to those confronting mental health problems and their loved ones. Many also provide family advocate services to parents of children with serious emotional disturbances, mentorship or peer support for adults recovering from mental illnesses, and professional education to those working in the mental health field. They serve as local leaders in the support and development of consumer-run initiatives and primary prevention programs. Finally, affiliates strive to influence public policy at the local, state, and national level to assure access to fair and effective treatment for the millions of Americans suffering from mental health conditions.
As their national association, Mental Health America provides training, toolkits and technical assistance to these affiliates on issues including, but not limited to:
- implementation of the Affordable Care Act;
- mental health parity advocacy; and
- public education about mental health issues and wellness strategies.
Mental Health America offers affiliates vital assistance on operational issues as well, such as board development, fundraising plans and program implementation. Affiliates also have access to a collection of online templates and resources on the Affiliate Only section of the Mental Health America website. Affiliates pay annual dues for access to these resources and discounts on publications and event registration fees.
Once an organization becomes an affiliate, it participates in a periodic reaffiliation process to ensure its continued adherence to the standards of affiliation. The reaffiliation process consists of:
- a thorough self-evaluation completed by the affiliate;
- review of that evaluation by members of Mental Health America’s Affiliate Relations Committee; and
- a vote by Mental Health America’s Board of Directors to determine the health-rating of the organization and period for which the reaffiliation will be effective.
Becoming an affiliate means becoming part of a legacy of over one hundred years of positive change for people with mental health conditions. Read more about Mental Health America’s founder and history here.