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History


Serving Arizona since 1954, Mental Health America of Arizona (MHA AZ) is the state’s oldest organization dedicated to all aspects of mental health, mental illness and behavioral health disorders.  MHA AZ is an affiliate of the nation’s leading community-based non-profit, Mental Health America, dedicated to helping all Americans achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives.

During MHA AZ’s 62-year history, the agency has provided leadership addressing the full range of mental health issues. Check out some of our highlights below!

  • 1965 - MHA AZ raised the money to allow Camelback Hospital to open the first adult outpatient clinic in Arizona, serving patients for over 30 years. Later the Scottsdale building would be donated back to MHA AZ and would serve as the state headquarters for over a decade.


  • Early 1980s - MHA AZ offered a variety of programs to assist the public with questions and concerns about mental illness. These programs included: Information and Referral, Peer Support Groups, OPTIONS (Offering Parents & Teens Information on Needless Suicide), Compeer, OK Socialites, Night Talks and the Annual Walk for Conscience. 


  • Late 1980’s – MHA AZ founded the MIKID (Mentally Ill Kids in Distress) program.


  • 1992 - With the help of Tribune Newspapers, MHA initiated and sponsored the annual Seeds of Crisis Symposium that brought together the media, elected officials, business leaders, providers, and family and peer representatives to address unmet mental health concerns in Arizona.  Through unified advocacy efforts led by MHA, the state celebrated many successes in improving the quality and funding for essential services.


  • Early 2011 - MHA AZ Board of Directors recognized the agency’s ongoing financial difficulties.  MHA’s doors were closed that year.  MHA AZ’s building; contents and programs were donated to MIKID.  MIKID, Marc Center and MH Guild continue to administer three of MHA AZ’s programs.  Those programs are OPTIONS, Information and Referral and Peer Groups. MHA AZ’s advocacy efforts, however, have been noticeably missing by the Arizona community.


  • 2012 – There was interest in reviving MHA AZ. A Steering Committee was formed, and with the assistance of MHA CA and others in the community, steps were taken to renew the organization.  The formal dissolution of MHA AZ had never been completed and the necessary state and federal reporting requirements had been maintained. A new Board of Directors was selected and the revival of MHA AZ was launched. 


  • 2012- The first project of MHA AZ was to sponsor the Mental Health Association of Associations. This is a statewide gathering of groups seeking to build consensus on common advocacy issues. 


MHA will continue its efforts to promote prevention, treatment, and recovery for people with all types of mental illness.  We urge you to join us in educating and strengthening the statewide advocacy efforts on behalf of Arizona citizens.  Join us by getting on our mailing list, attending meetings and spreading the word about MHA revival.