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Starting Your Own Affiliate

How To Start Your Own Mental Health America Affiliate

Mental Health America currently has 200 affiliates in 41 states. The first step to deciding whether you should start an affiliate is to determine if there is an existing affiliate in your area. You can search for an affiliate using our online search tool.

If there is an existing affiliate in your local area, county, or metropolitan area, we encourage you to contact them to learn how you can become involved. Mental Health America does not charter new affiliates in local areas where an affiliate exists.

Suppose there is a statewide affiliate where you are but not a local MHA. In that case, you should first contact the state affiliate to learn what opportunities are available to become involved in your locality and if they are interested in working together to establish an office. 

You may want to start an affiliate if no affiliate covers your state or local area/county/metropolitan area. 

Groups who should consider becoming affiliates:

  • Existing non-profits who want to adopt the mission, vision and brand of Mental Health America
  • Groups in a location where there is not an existing affiliate, and there is an agreed-upon need for the creation of a Mental Health America affiliate for advocacy, education, and services
  • Groups that have a strong leader and the time, connections, and resources available to dedicate to making a successful organization

Groups who may not be ready to become affiliates:

  • Those who do not have adequate time to dedicate to the processes for due diligence and incorporation, which can be difficult and time-consuming
  • Groups that do not have a strong leader
  • Groups where there is only one strong leader and not a true coalition voicing the need to start an affiliate
  • Groups located in the service area of an existing affiliate
  • Groups that are not interested in communicating with MHA’s National Office during the affiliation process

Find an affiliate. If you currently do not have a Mental Health America affiliate in your state or community and want to start one, contact Valerie Sterns, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Network, at to request materials to help you get started.