MHALA has its roots in advocating for recovery …

“To be on the safe and humane side, let every relative and friend ... remember the golden rule, which has never been suspended with respect to the insane. Go to see them, treat them sanely, write to them, keep them informed about the home circle; let not your devotion flag, nor accept any repulse”

Clifford Beers – “A Mind That Found Itself” - 1908


Although some of the terms are outdated and he may not have used the word “recovery”, Clifford Beers, the founder of the MHA movement, advocated for recovery in everything he did.  More than a century later, MHALA actively carries on that tradition.

How MHALA advocates for recovery….

Ask anyone what organizational advocacy looks like and they’ll probably tell you “passing legislation” or “suing for social justice”.  While both of those statements are accurate, they don’t paint the full picture of what MHALA does to advocate for the rights of people living with mental illness. 

MHALA believes that people have a right to services and mental health systems that help them to live lives not defined by their mental illness.  We “advocate” for this by creating better models of service delivery and helping other organizations to use what we’ve learned in the creation of their own programs.  We accomplish this through our training and consultative efforts, and by helping organizations to embrace recovery focused outcomes.

MHALA also believes that people living with mental illness have a right to be helped by mental health professionals who are schooled in the recovery process and know how to help those they serve achieve their own recovery.   We “advocate” for this by taking what we’ve learned and shaping practice at the individual level.  We accomplish this through our various workforce development efforts.

MHALA recognizes that the impact of these efforts can be further magnified through the pursuit of a thoughtful legislative and legal advocacy agenda that includes fighting for other basic rights that are often at risk once someone is labeled with a mental health condition.  We accomplish this through collaboration with like-minded organizations and groups and by communicating directly with decision makers at the national, state, county and local levels…

Legislative and other work


Working with our partners at Mental Health America, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association, the National Council for Behavioral Health and others to advance our collective agenda of protecting the rights of those experiencing mental health conditions, guaranteeing access to quality mental health services, and promoting wellness across the lifespan.


In partnership with Mental Health America in California, the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Agencies, the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies and the California Coalition for Mental Health we work to forward our collective agenda to promote recovery in a rapidly changing post Affordable Care Act healthcare system, to defend against attempts to further marginalize those living with mental health conditions, and ensure that mental heath parity in insurance is fully enforced. 

Los Angeles County

In California, the bulk of responsibility for the delivery of public mental health services lies with its 58 counties.  MHALA, as a contracted provider of services with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, works with the Department and our fellow agencies through the Association of Community Human Services Agencies to address the growing and changing mental health needs in what is the most populous county in America.


Cities have the ability to determine where people receive their services.  They also have the greatest influence in how the perennial problem of affordable housing is addressed within their borders.  MHALA regularly works with local human services agencies and with the cities of Lancaster, Long Beach, and Palmdale and others to help address pressing local issues and to offer those we serve opportunties to fully particpate in the communities of their choice.