Founded in 1939, we are the state’s first mental health advocacy and outreach organization.

Vision Statement Improved lives for people with mental illnesses

Mission Statement The mission of MHAM is to enhance mental health, promote individual empowerment, and increase access to treatment and services for persons with mental illnesses.

We listen to the needs of community members, respond to those needs, and work to make positive changes in the lives of individuals and in public policy.

Our deep concerns about stigma, discrimination, inadequate services, and other challenges have shaped our goals, programs, and results.


Henry's Story

When Henry called MHAM, we quickly discovered that there were many barriers to him getting the treatment and services he needs to stay healthy and independent.

Henry is homeless and couch-surfing with friends in rural Minnesota. He has many health concerns, including an anxiety disorder. Because he was denied Social Security Disability, his main source of income is General Assistance (GA) through the county – about $203 dollars a month. Recently, he discovered his GA was ending; this was a devastating blow.

Henry contacted an advocate at MHAM. Together, they made many phone calls to the county and eventually connected with his financial worker. The financial worker told them Henry’s basis of eligibility had expired, so his GA was being terminated. To get it back, Henry needed to make an appointment with a doctor who could certify that Henry’s medical conditions made him unable to work. The county financial worker explained that they had sent him paperwork about this in the mail.

The advocate explained that Henry was homeless, without a mailing address, and that he had not been able to access his mail. The advocate asked if Henry could get an extension of his GA benefits while he waited to meet with his doctor. This request was denied.

To help Henry avoid this issue in the future, the advocate helped him set up a General Delivery address at the post office where he could receive mail regardless of where he was staying. The advocate made sure Henry had ways to get to the post office to pick up his mail on a regular basis.

The advocate also helped Henry make an appointment to visit the county office in person so he could get his application for GA back on track. The advocate explained to Henry what he could expect while his paperwork was processed. Henry and his advocate wrote out a timeline so that he could see what he needed to do to solve this problem and the deadlines involved. With this information, Henry felt comfortable calling his clinic to get an appointment with his doctor. To ensure that Henry had what he needed in the meantime, the advocate showed Henry how to access homeless shelters and find meals. Henry and his advocate identified which friends he could turn to for help. Finally, Henry’s advocate helped him begin an appeal of his Social Security Disability denial.

After working with his MHAM advocate, Henry understood what happened to his GA, had a plan to reapply, and found resources to rely on in the meantime. He understood the county process better and will be able to solve similar problems on his own in the future.


• Through our Outreach Program , we raise awareness of mental health and wellness issues in the general public and offer programs and resources to individuals, families, frontline providers, faith communities, and the general public.

Individual Advocates help individuals and families navigate the mental health system and access community resources for mental health care, housing, employment, and other services.

• Our Issues Advocacy Program focuses on public policy and represents people with mental illnesses to: ensure and maintain parity in health care coverage for mental health; increase funding for community-based services; improve services in local communities through county funding from the state; and ensure due process for social services.

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