We are individuals who have experienced and are seeking recovery from mental health problems or addictions. We are families of loved ones who have struggled with these issues, or been lost to suicide.
We are advocates who see mental health as a public health and social justice issue.
We are mental health care professionals who believe that an individual’s goals for recovery should come first.
We are primary care doctors and nurses that see the impact of poor mental health in our patients’ general health everyday.
We are researchers who are unlocking the secrets of the brain and human behavior.
We are businessmen and women who understand the benefits of good mental health to the bottom line.
We are school officials who see children fall behind due to unmet emotional needs.
We are youth who want to help our peers with mental health problems.
We are people who believe in the mind-body connection and power of prevention.
We are people of all faiths who support fellow congregants with mental health and substance abuse problems.
We are Republican, Democrat, and Independent voters who view this as a people issue, not a partisan one.
We are public officials who are trying to change systems from within.
We are law enforcement and corrections officers who see the effects of untreated illness and wish there were better services for the people we encounter.
We are active duty military, veterans and families who know the stress of combat.
We are survivors of natural disasters, domestic abuse and street crimes who confront the psychological effects of these traumatic events everyday.
We are Mental Health America of the Heartland! We are bringing wellness home.
Why Our Cause Should Matter to All Americans
Whether we have a mental illness such as depression, know someone who has experienced such a problem or neither, we need to care about the issue of mental health. After all, we all have mental health. We may not think much about our mental health or even use that phrase, but it’s a common element in all our lives. Some people define it as a “state of mind.” Others view it as “being content with life” or “feeling good about yourself.”
Mental health is perhaps best explained as how well we cope with daily life and the challenges it brings. When our mental health is good, we can deal better with what comes our way -- at home, at work, in life. When our mental health is poor, it can be difficult to function in our daily lives. It is a fluid state with disability and untreated illness at one end, and recovery and complete wellness at the other end. Most of us live and move within the middle range of the spectrum.
However, most of us take our mental health for granted. After all, since it’s such a basic, yet unseen, part of who we are, it doesn’t seem to merit a lot of thought compared to everything else going on in our lives or in the world. But the reality is that mental health is a major factor in all aspects of each of our lives. We see it play out in our relationships, in our performance at work or school and in health issues.
Today, protecting and strengthening our mental health couldn’t be more important. With our fast paced, 24/7 culture, we face more stress from our daily lives than ever before. Many of us work extended hours or multiple jobs, and take less vacation. In fact, one in three American employees is chronically overworked. The line between work and home life is often blurred, so home is no longer a place of rest. Sleep and exercise feel like luxuries. We are eating poorly more often. We are constantly bombarded with information. We are also more disconnected from family, friends and neighbors, and less engaged in our communities than we used to be. Trust in one another has steadily declined over the last 30 years. Kids aren’t immune either; many are racing from one activity to another without any downtime.
All of us live with these daily threats to our ‘mental health.’ Many of us also face additional challenges that test us and put our mental health at risk. For some of us, it is the stress of caregiving or divorce or losing a loved one. Or losing a job. Or living with a disease such as diabetes, cancer or hypertension. Or an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Or a major illness such as depression or schizophrenia. Or surviving domestic abuse, a street crime or a disaster like Hurricane Katrina.
Whatever the source of the threat, how able we are to deal with these challenges can positively or negatively impact our ‘mental health,’ overall health and well-being. When considering all the ways it can affect each of us and our society, the issue of mental health amounts to the largest public health and economic concern in the country.
What Mental Health America of the Heartland Stands For
MHAH believes that justice demands that everyone, regardless of disability, has the rights and responsibilities of full participation in society.
We believe that mental health is essential to the development and realization of every person's full potential.
We believe that the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental, emotional and social problems is the responsibility of every person and social institution in the community.
We believe that all persons must have access to a full array of high quality, community-based, integrated mental health services regardless of ability to pay.
We believe that all services must be linguistically and culturally appropriate.
We believe that all persons with mental illness can recover and live healthy and productive lives.
We believe that children with, or at risk of, serious emotional disturbances and their families or surrogate families must have access to high quality, community-based, integrated systems of care.
We believe that consumers, parents and families are unique and essential participants in providing advocacy, services, education and training.
We believe that mental health treatment should be provided and paid for at the same levels as other illnesses.
What Our New Name Represents
As an organization, Mental Health America of the Heartland has been around for nearly a century. We began our work in 1909 when Clifford W. Beers, a young businessman who struggled with a mental illness and shared his story with the world in his autobiography “A Mind That Found Itself,” created a national citizens’ group to promote mental health and improve conditions for children and adults living with these health problems. It was a revolutionary act and attracted prominent national leaders of the time, including the philosopher William James and the Rockefeller family.
Our new name, Mental Health America of the Heartland, was chosen to communicate how fundamental mental health is to the overall health and well-being of every American. Our new logo is meant to convey Mental Health America of the Heartland’s a forward-looking, vibrant movement. The bell image in the logo is a graphic representation of an actual 300 lb. bell, the Mental Health America Bell. The Bell was forged more than 50 years ago with iron chains and shackles that bound people in mental asylums. It serves as a vital reminder of our past and the progress we have made, and a powerful symbol of our vital mission.
We invite you to join our movement to help all people live mentally healthier lives. To learn more, find help, or get involved, call (913) 281-2221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org