ALEXANDRIA, VA – Mental Health America (MHA) has announced that President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo will retire in July 2021, after seven years of service to MHA. The board of directors has initiated a search for a new executive and has engaged the services of Sterling Martin Associates to support the selection and transition process.
Before coming to MHA, Gionfriddo worked in a variety of health and mental-health related positions during a career spanning more than 40 years. “So much has changed during that time,” Gionfriddo said. “And while there is so much more to be done, today millions more people have access to community-based health and mental health services than they did back then.”
As a member of the state House of Representatives, Paul led Connecticut’s Joint Appropriations Committee’s Health subcommittee, his first opportunity to impact mental health policy. Paul went on to build a career around improving the mental health delivery system, working as a consultant, nonprofit leader, speaker, writer, and author of Losing Tim: How Our Health and Education Systems Failed My Son with Schizophrenia, a policy memoir he completed in 2014 just prior to joining MHA.
At MHA, Paul’s contributions have included coining the term “B4Stage4” and using it to promote MHA’s efforts toward earlier intervention around mental health conditions, building MHA’s successful online screening and screening-to-supports program, reclaiming Mental Health Month as MHA’s signature public education effort each year, enhancing the reputation and identity of the entire MHA national and affiliate community, and initiating the Bell Seal program to recognize workplace mental health champions.
During his time with MHA, Gionfriddo also served a four-year term on the National Advisory “MHA continues to thrive and lead thanks to Paul’s visionary stewardship,” noted Board Chair Peter Carson. “As our national search begins in earnest, the Board and I are energized by MHA’s organizational strength and prominent voice in the national dialogue about mental health. We look forward to identifying MHA’s next dynamic leader, who will work with us and the MHA affiliate field to continue Clifford Beers’ legacy."
The President and CEO Search
MHA is seeking a visionary leader who will work closely with the board of directors to set long-term objectives and policy directions for the largest mental health group in the U.S. The president and CEO will guide MHA’s response to the current economic and political climate, including how the organization’s programs and services will need to adapt as a result of the pandemic. The role includes extensive outreach, as well as ongoing support for MHA’s network of more than 200 state and local affiliates and associate members.
Key areas of responsibility will include:
- Working closely with the executive committee and board of directors on matters important to the overall policy direction and management of MHA.
- Establishing and implementing short- and long-range organizational goals, objectives, policies, and operating procedures; writing and maintaining an ongoing business plan.
- Serving as the chief spokesperson for MHA; communicating regularly with the public, elected officials, media, and other stakeholders; and representing MHA before Congress and federal administrative agencies on legislative and regulatory matters.
- Maintaining open communication with affiliate CEOs; attending and speaking at affiliate functions as invited.
- Understanding and responding to the current economic and political climate, including how this climate shapes the future of mental health.
MHA has established a search committee that will lead the process of identifying the most qualified candidate to serve as the organization’s next president and CEO.
Since its founding in 1909, MHA’s mission has been to promote mental health for all. Its focus is prevention for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated health, behavioral health, and other services and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Since 2014, its guiding message has been characterized by the trademarked hashtag #B4Stage4.
At the foundation of MHA’s program, policy, and advocacy work is its commitment to ending discrimination against people with mental health conditions specifically and to antiracism in general. MHA characterizes racism and antiracism not as terms of judgment about individuals, but as descriptive terms that can be applied to public policies, as well as public and private systems and practices.
MHA is based in Alexandria, VA. Its 2020 revenues will be near $6M, and it employs a staff of approximately 30. Learn more at MHAnational.org.