About the Organization

To Be A Champion Of Positive Mental Health and Wellness

In response to the presence of stress and mental illness, MHASM provides resources and support services for those
seeking mental wellness and recovery within our community.

Mission Statement

To be a champion of positive mental health and wellness.

A History of Trustworthiness

MHASM has been working to empower people who suffer from mental illness since 1963.  It began as a grassroots organization founded by a group of ladies who sold their knitted goods to purchase Christmas gifts for people institutionalized at State Hospital in Whitfield. Today, we consider MHASM a community support agency. We administer grants provided by federal and state agencies.  As the state affiliate of Mental Health America,  a national agency, we have the opportunity to take advantage of their programs and expertise.

MHASM was previously chosen by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a Statewide grant to provide Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) in MS.  The initial goal was set to work with 240 people on their wellness plan – over 1,000 were reached.  This funding opportunity included use of SAMHSA’s Dimensions of Wellness and assistance in our state to enhance peer support.  Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) and the Dimensions of Wellness continue to be part of our organization even though this funding has ended.

Working in partnership with Open Doors Homeless Coalition, we have administered a Supportive Housing Program for several years.  This is proven successful to assist chronically homeless individuals with serious mental illness. in 2020, a Rapid Re-Housing grant was awarded.  This is a shorter term program for individuals with less severe illness. In 2010, MHASM was awarded the largest grant in South MS from HUD for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing, the project has been completed.

MS Department of Mental Health (DMH) has been a partner for many years. MHASM has received funds for over 10 years from the State Department for the Drop In Center and Homeless Outreach Programs. MHASM was selected for two funding opportunities following the BP Oil Spill, which have been completed.  Beginning 2015, MHASM and DMH partnered to bring Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) to behavioral health centers around the state.  Staff members, Sonya Catchings and Kay Daneault became Advanced Level Facilitators through The Copeland Center.  This allows them to train others as WRAP Facilitators.

Another partnership has been with DMH and the Association of MS Peer Support Specialists (AMPSS).  MHASM is the fiduciary agency for an AMPSS grant through DMH.  It has been an opportunity for AMPSS to grow as a group, bringing peers together.  A Peer Support Specialist is someone with lived experience of mental health, substance abuse and/or homelessness.  MHASM employs several Certified Peer Support Specialists.

Employers can provide Wellness Programs for their workforce. The economic impact on the world due to mental illness is 16.3 trillion dollars according to a study by The World Economic Forum, an independent international organization.  Our staff can come out for short presentations of things such as coping skills or how to manage stress.

Mental Health First Aid is another training opportunity for anyone who is interested.  It offers a 3-year certification and is now available in a virtual as well as in person training.  Through community partners the cost to participants is minimal or free.  You will learn signs and symptoms of mental illness and a strategy for connecting someone to needed help.

Our Organization In Numbers

We Facilitate Safe Programs to Help Our Homeless and Mental Health Community

Since 1963, the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi has helped by giving out food, buying bus tickets, providing training and just being there for people experiencing mental health conditions in our community.

Our numbers grow every day and your donations and gifts allow us to be a better organization.

*some numbers are approximate and vary by year

20 regular clients 3 days a week at our Drop In Center

3,900 meals to persons with mental illness*

1,000 supply bags to homeless persons on the Gulf Coast*

17 formerly homeless in our HUD Housing Programs

1,600 bus passes to homeless persons*

100 mental health providers trained in mental health related activities

 75 personalized Christmas gifts distributed

700 people given community resource information via phone*

125,000 individuals exposed to mental health awareness information*