We advocate on issues directly related to mental health services in Pennsylvania while educating the public with the goal of eliminating stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. We listen to your concerns and bring your voices to places such as the Governor’s Task Force for Suicide Prevention, at our Community Support Program and other meetings.
The Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association was founded in 1986 by dedicated advocates who had experience in the mental health system and saw that it needed changing.
It began as a consumer-run organization with a staff of volunteers who devoted themselves to fight for the rights of people with mental illness. They fought to make sure those rights were recognized and afforded by mental health professionals while also working to end the stigma associated with mental illness.
in 1996 the volunteer staff received state funding to hire a full-time executive director. They were also provided office space in the Office of Mental Health inside the old Harrisburg State Hospital. The mental health consumer movement in Pennsylvania grew stronger and expanded as the national movement continued.
In December 2009, Lynn Keltz joined as Executive Director and retired on June 30th, 2019.
Kathy Quick took over as Executive director in June, 2019.
Today, there are seven full time staff members and a board of directors.
Youth MOVE PA
Youth MOVE PA, a youth and young adult advocacy organization, has been located at PMHCA since 2017.
Youth MOVE PA engages young adults, between the ages of 16 to 29, to become active in, and to have a seat at the table of public policy as it relates to youth in Pennsylvania. Youth Move PA represents, empowers, and encourages youth and their allies to unite in educating and providing support through advocacy to revolutionize the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
PMHCA advocates for the continuation and improvement of mental health services in Pennsylvania by participating in both systems advocacy and grassroots advocacy.
System advocacy focuses on policy and law reform activities, contact with local officials, media releases, publications, and community trainings. Through systems advocacy, we seek to make changes in legislation and government policy as well as in policy and practices of service providers in order to guarantee fail treatment and social justice for people in recovery at the local, state, and national level. This can also include strategies like collective advocacy, community development and education, resource development, and lobbying.
Grassroots advocacy is the action of demanding a solution to a common problem by lobbying and influencing decision makers by the individual. The individual can take part by voicing their opinions, telling their stories, and effecting system change through many means. This can include writing letters to elected officials or organizing educational workshops for members of their community.
Grassroots advocacy is what PMHCA is all about. PMHCA attends meetings and participates in listening sessions in order to hear from people across Pennsylvania. We will listen to your stories, your interests and concerns, and what is important to you, the consumer. With this information, we will create a strategic plan to work in the community and advocate to meet your needs.
You can find us participating in meetings such as: