Our History

MHA is one of Los Angeles County’s oldest nonprofit mental health organizations. Over the past 80 years, we have created agencies to fill gaps in care, changed systems to be more responsive, and championed movements that gave a voice to people with mental illness and their families. We’ve promoted understanding and awareness about mental illness and advanced acceptance for people living with a diagnosis. We’ve protected rights and defended resources in an effort to make our County, State, and Country better places to live for all, regardless of mental health status.

We were founded in 1924 as the Mental Hygiene Committee, which was the beginning of our community's first nonprofit dedicated to the needs of children with emotional disturbances.  That agency is still going strong today as the Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic.  In the 1950's, our agency, along with MHAs across the country led the fight to bring more humane care to people in state hospitals.  This was just the beginning of our legacy of advocating for the rights of people living with mental illness in our nation.  Since that time, we have created several innovative programs, agencies, and partnerships to help provide support to those in need and been a force for change in mental health systems and our momentum has not wavered.  Today we continue to address the pressing needs of people living with mental illness, our current focus being on the integration of physical and mental healthcare under one roof, which will seek to address the quality and length of life issues faced by many living with a mental health diagnosis 

Please have a look at our agency's timeline of notable events below!


We are an affiliate of Mental Health America, the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to helping people achieve wellness by living mentally healthier lives.