About the Organization
To be a champion of positive mental health and wellness.
Mental Health Association of South MS (MHASM) has a Vision to be recognized as one of Mississippi’s champions of mental health and related challenges. MHASM will be a key partner with MS Department of Mental Health (DMH) and other collaborating partners by 2025.
To reach this vision, we are going to:
- Strengthen our Board of Directors
- Brand our Organization
- Design a Diverse Revenue Stream
- Improve Programs and Operations
- Boost Statewide Relationships
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 and are the state affiliate of Mental Health America, a national agency. Most recently MHASM was chosen to be the MS State Outreach Partner by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). This governmental agency is tasked with transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure. MHASM will help promote opportunities to participate in research to advance the knowledge we have surrounding mental health and the brain.
In 2013, MHASM was chosen by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for a 3-year Statewide Consumer Network 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. WRAP and the Dimensions of Wellness continue to be part of our organization even though this funding has ended.
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. Sonya Catchings and Kay Daneault from MHASM became Advanced Level Facilitators through The Copeland Center. This allows them to train others as WRAP Facilitators.
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.
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.
Over the past few years, HUD has increased our Supportive Housing Program from 6 individuals to 15 individuals to be helped. This program provides housing for chronically homeless individuals with serious mental 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.