Meet Us!

Meet Us! History


The Mental Health Bell: A Symbol of Hope.

About Mental Health America of the MidSouth

Our mission is to improve the lives of persons living with mental health challenges by advocating for improved public policy, educating health service providers, and connecting individuals to the right help at the right time.  

Over the years, MHA of the MidSouth has worked diligently to educate all members of our community about how to attain good mental health. We share our message of hope for mental wellness with thousands of individuals annually.

Serving as a resource for the community for so many decades, MHA of the MidSouth identifies important mental health needs in Tennessee, and we often facilitate the development of programs to meet those needs or enhance resources to address service gaps. Learn more about why the Bell of Hope is our symbol.


Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s oldest and largest mental health advocacy organization. It was founded by Clifford Beers, a consumer of mental health services, in 1909. It was originally the mental hygiene movement that became Mental Health America. At its centennial celebration the name was changed to Mental Health America, and many of the independent affiliates followed suit.

Mental Health America of the MidSouth (MHA MidSouth) was founded in 1946 by Vanderbilt psychiatrist, Frank Luton, M.D., with underwriting provided by the Junior League of Nashville. The core of the organization was a helpline and community resources, which remain a constant today. In 1988, the agency expanded from serving Nashville to serving Middle Tennessee. MHA of the MidSouth grew to provide many programs and services that are available statewide today.

Throughout its history, MHA of the MidSouth launched or helped start the Dede Wallace Center (now part of Centerstone), Tennessee Voices for Children, Park Center, the Crisis Intervention Center, the Mental Health Cooperative, and Hickory Hall School.

Based on its history, MHA is unique in that it was founded by a consumer of mental health services, has hundreds of incorporated affiliates, and was founded on prevention, recovery, social inclusion, and other vital aspects of mental health.



Annual Report