What is the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition?
The Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) is a statewide member organization that unifies diverse local voices to advocate with the goals of (1) increasing awareness of issues that impact people affected by mental illnesses and addiction disorders and (2) advancing policies that positively impact Ohioans affected by mental illnesses and addiction disorders.
What does the MHAC do?
The MHAC provides a unique forum for members to network and discuss policy priorities with each other, policy makers, community leaders and other key stakeholders. It also conducts research and shares it and other information with decision makers and advocates engaging them in issues that impact Ohioans with mental health and addiction disorders and their families.
How has the MHAC grown and changed?
After 10 years of successful work as the Mental Health Advocacy Coalition, the organization is launching a new name – Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition – but will continue to use the acronym MHAC. This name change reflects an updated mission which now includes issues impacting individuals with addiction disorders in the scope of research, education and advocacy work conducted by the MHAC.
This is also a time of expansion. Over the last 10 years the focus and membership has grown from Cuyahoga County to the entire state. While the intent of the MHAC – to unify a diverse community voice – will remain the same, a broader geographic footprint will allow for greater impact both at the local and state levels. Today, the MHAC has member organizations in Northeast Ohio and Southwest Ohio and staff focusing on state and local policies impacting these regions.
How is the MHAC organized?
The overarching goal of the MHAC is to improve access to mental health and addiction services for individuals and their families through improving state and local policy. To have the most impact at both levels, the MHAC has staff in Columbus who focus on state policies and issues and Hub staff who focus on local policies and issues. There are currently two active Hubs, with additional Hubs planned in the future. Regions served by current Hubs include:
Northeast Ohio Hub – Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, and Summit Counties
Southwest Ohio Hub – Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton, and Warren Counties
What services does the MHAC provide?
The MHAC facilitates dialogues between members, policy makers and the general community to engage them in conversations that improve the lives of individuals with mental health and addiction disorders and their families. By connecting members who are or represent constituents with their elected and non-elected public officials, the MHAC advances policies that improve access to services in the community. In order to improve these discussions, the MHAC researches and analyzes issues and public policies impacting Ohioans with mental health and addiction disorders. The MHAC, public officials, members and others use this research and analysis in their own dialogues on public policies impacting individuals with mental health and addiction disorders.
The MHAC advocates for adequate financial and political support of mental health and addiction treatment and supportive services and for systemic change to improve access to behavioral health services. A part of this advocacy is educating the community, public officials, and key constituencies about crucial issues impacting Ohioans with mental health or addiction disorders and the impact of untreated behavioral health disorders on the community.