Leading mental health charities and not for profit organizations

Leading Mental Health Charities & Organizations

Mental health disorders are real illnesses that often cause people to suffer silently. And, unfortunately, there is still a stigma associated with them. But, having discussions and raising awareness about mental health are the first steps to combatting the stigma.

Moreover, advocating for mental illness and giving back to the mental health community can be extremely powerful for both families and patients. Patient advocates even say that their advocacy work helps to strengthen their own mental health recovery.

Ultimately, it is important to pay attention to your mental health. And activism is a way that caregivers, loved ones, patients, and all those touched by mental illness can give back to and aid others.

The following are some of the leading organizations that raise awareness and provide support and resources for mental health. They offer a number of ways to turn your suffering into action.

Mental Health America

Mental Health Organizations
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Founded in 1909, Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based organization devoted to addressing the needs of people living with mental illness as well as promoting their overall mental health. This nonprofit group believes that mental health is, in fact, a critical part of overall wellness. They are an authority in mental health support, recovery, and advocacy.

MHA’s philosophy is to address and treat mental health conditions before they cause individual suffering. They advocate for prevention services, early identification, and intervention of symptoms, and plans of action to hopefully stop the progression of mental illness.

They also offer the following services:

National Institute of Mental Health

The National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) is the leading federal agency for research on mental disorders. NIMH is one of the 27 institutes and centers that make up the National Institutes of Health which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

NIMH is the largest scientific organization dedicated to research focused on the understanding, treatment, and prevention of mental illness. It also conducts outreachto other mental health organizations to share information about ongoing research and plans and to obtain feedback for future initiatives. Additionally, NIMH partners with these organizations in efforts to foster public awareness of the most current mental health research. They also offer multimedia presentations and a free image library.

Even more, NIMH provides trustworthy information about mental health disorders as well as information on a range of mental health topics and the latest mental health research. If you or a loved one is considering taking part in clinical research, NIMH can equip you with information about clinical trials and how to find one at NIMH or across the country. They also have free brochures, booklets, and e-booksto help educate the public about mental health and mental illness.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is one of the largest grassroots mental health organizations dedicated to creating better lives for Americans affected by mental illness. This group started around a kitchen table and has now become one of the nation’s trailblazing voices on mental health.

NAMI is made up of state organizations, hundreds of local affiliates, and volunteers. They provide education, hold events, provide resources, and work in the community to raise awareness and offer support to all who need.

In addition, NAMI strives to change the way people view mental illness and to get rid of the stigma associated with it through education, advocacy, listening to the public, and leadership. NAMI also offers educational programs in thousands of communities to make sure that families, individuals, and educators get the support and information they need.

Included in this is NAMI FaithNet—an interfaith resource network that promotes the role of spirituality in the recovery journeys of many who live with mental health illness and for whom faith is a key component. One can also call the NAMI toll-free helpline for free referrals, information, and support or visit their website to sign up for discussion/support groups or even help others on their message boards.

Through their advocacy work, NAMI shapes national public policy for people with mental illness and their families. Their efforts have resulted in obtaining funding for research, protecting access to treatments and services, and making sure that mental illness is treated the same way as physical illness in most insurance plans. NAMI will also provide advocacy volunteers with the tools, resources, and skills needed to protect mental health in all states.

NAMI participates in many yearly mental health awareness events as a way to show support for people with mental illnesses and highlight the importance of mental health. Participating in a NAMI awareness event allows one to help increase people’s understanding of the complexity of mental illness as well as educate the public on and help to reduce stigma. These events include Mental Illness Awareness Week, Awareness Messaging Campaigns for social media, NAMIWalks, and many other events.

To get involved with NAMI:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. The AFSP has chapters in all 50 states with its core strategies including providing educational programs for professionals, educating the public about mood disordersand suicide prevention, funding scientific research, offering programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss as well as people at risk, and advocating for policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention.

The AFSP feels that too many people at risk for suicide do not seek help. Thus, the organization has created educational programs to reach those who are suffering as well as teach schools, workplaces, and communities on how to prevent suicide and make mental health a priority.

AFSP has also created the interactive screening program, an online program that can be offered through mental health agencies at institutions of higher education, law enforcement agencies, workplaces, and employee assistance programs. The interactive screening program website offers a safe and confidential place for people to take a brief screening for stress, depression, and other mental health conditions and then receive a personalized response from a mental health counselor. The site allows people to communicate anonymously with the mental health counselor and receive recommendations, feedback, and support for obtaining available mental health services.

Additionally, the AFSP offers programs and resources for healing as well as a peer-supported survivor outreach program. The organization also provides volunteer opportunities for survivors who want to find meaning and healing by supporting their peers. And, if you want to help advocate for policies that will help save lives, the AFSP’s public policy team provides volunteers with the tools they will need to advocate for suicide prevention at both the state and federal levels.

Much of what we know about suicide has come from research that the AFSP has funded. You can help promote suicide awareness and raise funds for AFSP by participating in Out of the Darkness community, campus, and overnight walks, honoring a loved one via a memorial fund, creating your own personal fundraising campaign, joining a team AFSP event, or simply making a donation. You can also get involved by becoming a member of your local chapter or by participating in one of AFSP’s research studies.

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