The Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition (MHAC) fosters education and awareness of mental health and addiction issues while advocating for public policies and strategies that support effective, well-funded services, systems, and supports for those in need, resulting in stronger Ohio communities.
The MHAC is a place where diverse interests come together, speak with a common voice, and work towards guaranteeing access to quality services and supports for individuals with mental health and addiction disorders.
Established in Cleveland in 2003 with 30 members, the mission of the Mental Health Advocacy Coalition was to provide a broader unified community voice to advocate for mental health issues and to coordinate advocacy efforts. For most of its first decade, the MHAC’s efforts focused on state and local policy issues affecting Cuyahoga County. It attracted members from diverse disciplines and engaged them in its strategic, impactful efforts to advocate, research, and convene on behalf of individuals with mental illnesses.
In 2010, organizations in Southwest (SW) Ohio began expressing interest in creating an organization similar to the MHAC to address the challenges of the region. In late 2010, with the support of the MHAC, the MHAC of SW Ohio launched to advocate for policies that would increase access in the region.
In 2013, the MHAC expanded its mission to include addiction issues and changed its name to the Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition to reflect this change (keeping the acronym MHAC). It established staffed Hubs in NE and SW Ohio focused on local activities, and a staffed office in Columbus dedicated to state level activities.
Today, with 124 member organizations, the MHAC has become a statewide coalition with the purpose to unify diverse local voices to advocate with the goals of (1) increasing awareness of behavioral health 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. The MHAC has established itself as a resource for local and state policymakers, members, and the community through its ongoing advocacy efforts, data-driven research, policy analysis, and recommendations.