The mission of the Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma is to promote mental health through education, advocacy, prevention and treatment services.
History of The Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma
The Mental Health Association was formed in 1952 by a group of community women who were greatly concerned about the treatment and care of patients housed in our state mental institutions.
Through the efforts of the early founders, they organized over 2,000 of their friends in a massive effort to aid the patients in the local area mental hospital, then known as Central State Hospital. They held parties, became "pen pals" and involved patients in gardening and music therapies.
Members adopted an educational mission and spoke to community groups and to high school students to encourage them to pursue degrees in the mental health field.
Mental Health Association took an early leadership role in community education on mental health issues providing Youth Symposiums and the Women's Worry Clinics for more than thirty years.
In 1979, Mental Health Association started the "REACH" support group for families of people with a mental illness. That group later became the Oklahoma Alliance for the Mentally Ill (OAMI), who today is an influential voice in the legislative process.
REACH families also pushed to start The Connection, a social club for people with mental disorders, to help ease them back into the community. Today, social clubs are operated out of each of the community mental health centers.
In 2006 the Mental Health Association in Oklahoma County changed its name to Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma. MHACO takes great pride in the accomplishments of those who came before us; the board and staff members who responded to the mental health issues of the day and provided leadership in the development of programs and services to address those needs
Today The Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma is the gateway to the region's community of mental health resources. The association is recognized by consumers and professionals as the mental health leader for Central Oklahoma. Through the utilization of the latest technology, MHACO provides access to the best and most current information and services. With the outstanding leadership provided by the Board and staff, the association provides the most effective programs and services for those seeking prevention and treatment services. The community has generously responded to the impact MHACO is having on the community with overwhelming financial and volunteer support.
Who We Help
This year, we assisted 35,000 individuals seeking mental health and substance abuse treatment, resources and information.
Since 1952, we have assisted over 2 Million individuals living in Central Oklahoma.
- Every year one out of every four persons experiences some kind of challenge to his or her mental health.
- In the U.S., roughly one young person age 24 or younger dies of suicide every two hours.
- In Oklahoma, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people 15-24 years old.
- 90% percent of teenagers who die by suicide suffer from a treatable mental illness
- In Oklahoma, each year 8% of our residents are estimated to have had a Major Depressive Episode
- 25% percent of Oklahoma’s 3.6 million residents has some form of mental illness and 11.4% of the population - about 420,000 individuals - are considered to have a serious mental illness.