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 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.

Our Organization In Numbers

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

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*some numbers are approximate and vary by year

25 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*

15 formerly chronic homeless in our HUD Supportive Housing Program

3 bus tickets to get homeless persons back to their families in other states

1,600 bus passes to homeless persons*

100 mental health providers trained in mental health related activities

5 people supported to obtain employment

75 personalized Christmas gifts distributed

700 people given community resource information via phone*

125,000 individuals exposed to mental health awareness information*