bout Us

Forty years ago, people with mental illnesses were warehoused and even shackled in huge state mental hospitals, often for their whole lives. Afraid of mental illnesses, we believed there was no cure.

People with mental illnesses existed in a world of secrecy and shame that trapped them and their families.

We now know that practically every family in this country is touched in some way by mental illnesses, and that mental illnesses are extremely treatable.

We’ve come so very far from those dark days. Thankfully, Mental Health America of Hawai`i has fought for 68 years to transform mental illness into mental wellness by creating awareness about mental health/substance abuse, preventing mental illness, reducing the stigma, and improving the care, treatment, and empowerment of those with mental illnesses - children, adults, elders, and their families.

Here’s what MHA-H does

  • Youth Suicide and Bullying Prevention. Hawai`i has the highest rate in the nation of teenagers attempting or planning suicide.  MHA-H is helping peers, adults, and youth-serving organizations identify and intervene with depressed/suicidal youth.  Click here to read more about it.
  • Healing the Trauma of War.  MHA has identified gaps in services for returning National Guard and Reserves and their families regarding PTSD, mental health problems, substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, child abuse, impact on children, etc. MHA-H is also operating a program to find jobs for homeless veterans.  Click here to read more about this program.
  • Invisible Children’s Project.  Most seriously mentally ill adults have children, and some are raising them, but often their mental health providers are not aware of this. This project aims to support families in which a parent has a mental illness.  Click here to read more about this problem.
  • Transition Age Youth.  A Resource Guide for vulnerable at-risk young adults: those in the age range of 16-26 who "age out" of foster care, mental health, juvenile justice, and special education systems, or who are homeless or drop out of school.  Click here to read more about this program.
  • Brown Bag Mental Health Seminars.  MHA has presented workshops on Postpartum Depression, Teen Suicide, Military Mental Health, Bipolar Illness,Eating Disorders and The Effects of War. The seminars are open to the public, providers, policymakers, mental health consumers, and families.  Click here to read more about these programs.
  • Finding Help.  MHA-H produces the only comprehensive guide to mental health services in the state, and staffs a daily telephone help line.  Click here to read more about this program.
  • Live Your Life Well.  MHA-H provides presentations to organizations and workplaces offering ten clinically proven actions everyone can take to protect and enhance their mental wellness and cope better with stress.  Click here to read more about this program.
  • Advocacy.  MHA-H works tirelessly to advocate for improvement in the treatment and care of people with mental health problems.  Click here to read more about this program.

Throughout its 68 years, MHA-H has started and spun off many major mental health organizations throughout the state, including:
  • The state's Suicide and Crisis Line
  • The first halfway house for adults with mental illnesses (which became Mental Health Kokua)
  • Honolulu's preeminent program for high-risk youth (Hale Kipa)
  • Support programs for parents of mentally ill offspring

Beyond creating innumerable programs, MHA-H has chartered critical new policies over the decades

  • We fought to establish mental health patients' rights.
  • We mobilized the clean-up of Hawai`i's abysmal state mental hospital.
  • We helped establish mental health services for children, which did not previously exist.
  • We succeeded in getting a comprehensive mental health parity law passed.

We didn’t do any of this alone, but we were always leading the way! 

Today, we continue to be very proactive in advocating for the needs of people with mental illnesses at the legislature, at the state level, and in the media.

MHA-H is an affiliate of the renowned national organization, Mental Health America, which encompasses over 300 other affiliates. MHA-H has offices on Maui and O`ahu, an annual budget of $700,000, 4 staff members, and a very committed Board of Directors with enormous personal and professional experience in mental health and related fields.  Click here to learn more about our Board and Staff.

WE DEPEND ON YOU!  In order to continue our work, we need the support of individuals like you.  Please consider becoming a member or a donor today!  Your support will mean so much to so many!  Mahalo nui loa.

The road to wellness is never closed.
© Mental Health America of Hawaii
Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management