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.
PMHCA purchased the building on Derry Street in Harrisburg, and called it home for many years. Due to the I83 expansion, PMHCA moved to 2551 Walnut St. in 2022.
Youth MOVE PA is a statewide youth & young adult advocacy organization dedicated to eliminating stigma surrounding mental health while promoting wellness and recovery for those seeking aid along their journey. Youth MOVE PA has been located at PMHCA since 2017.
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: