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Policy Issues

Mental Health America advocates for legislation and policy that will positively affect the lives of people with mental health conditions and their families.

Mental Health Policy

Mental Health America (MHA) takes a unique approach to policy because MHA believes policy should ask people what they need to live the lives they want and support them in getting there. Recovery is founded on the principle that people can take on meaningful roles in the community when they receive the support they need for mental health challenges. MHA's goal is recovery for all. There is nothing more important than allowing everyone the chance to live the life they want with meaningful roles in the community.

MHA - founded in 1909 - is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting overall mental health. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including:

  • prevention services for all
  • early identification and intervention for those at risk
  • integrated care
  • services
  • supports for those who need it

Recovery is the goal.

What We Fight For

In the history of treatment of people with mental health problems, our system has done a poor job at protecting people. The story of the Mental Health Bell is a reminder that we cannot return to a system where people are shackled, mistreated, and otherwise forgotten. Since 1909, MHA has fought to improve the system for individuals who struggle with mental health problems.

Unfortunately, the fight is not over. MHA and our affiliates continue to

  • promote the importance of lived experience
  • advance prevention and early intervention
  • increase access to mental health and substance use care and supports
  • ensure equity and reduce disparities

Learn more about our 2024 priorities

MHA wants a system where people are treated with dignity from the very start, and early intervention and prevention of mental health problems are prioritized.

In response to calls to address racism and discrimination against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals, MHA has determined the importance of advancing equity. MHA uses a rubric, as well as a larger framework to determine whether to support policies. These documents help us evaluate through an equity lens the development of and our potential support for public policy initiatives affecting behavioral health.

Our position statements cover:

View Our Recent Position Statements

What's happening in 2024: Policy agenda

Our top priorities this year are promoting lived experience, prevention, access, and equity. 

Check out 2024 policy agenda

Recent actions and resources

MHA frequently sends letters to federal agencies and congressional offices to inform policymaking and funding. We also share resources to help our affiliate field understand policy changes that impact their work locally. Here are some of our recent actions.

Comment letter to CMS on Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Program (PDF)

Comment letter to CMS in response to request for information about data collection regarding Medicare Advantage (PDF)

Comment letter to Office of Head Start about mental health changes (PDF)

Comment letter to CMS about network adequacy in Medicare Advantage (PDF)

MHLG Coalition letter to Congress on end of year priorities (PDF)