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Our Story, Mission, and Vision

Mental Health America of Greater Houston, established in 1954 by philanthropist Ima Hogg, is the area’s longest serving mental health education and advocacy organization focused on shaping the mental health of people and communities in the areas of children and education, integrated health care, veterans, and community education. 

We actively work to replace stigmas about mental illness with compassion and proper treatment. Our work: 

  • Provides education and training for the community
  • Removes barriers to mental health care
  • Facilitates change in systems
  • Advocates for legislative solutions
  • Addresses the vast need for public mental health services
  • Links people to mental health services

Mental illness affects all members of the Greater Houston area in some way; according to a report issued by the University of Texas School of Public Health, more than 30% of Houstonians are within the close social network of a person with a severe mental illness. Families, schools, and businesses are all benefiting from our work which increases access to health and human services that aim at prevention, early intervention, and treatment of behavioral disorders and mental illness.

Mental Health America of Greater Houston focuses on the promotion of mental health and the prevention of behavioral health concerns because there will never be enough resources and infrastructure to properly address the ever-increasing demand for more services. Many organizations are concentrating on the availability of clinical services; as important as they are, those efforts need to be coupled with prevention efforts. Our agency concentrates on upstream, community-based solutions that are proven to enhance population health outcomes. Mental Health America of Greater Houston works under the premise that health is part of everything and there is no health without mental health. In fact, there is no other public health issue that is more far-reaching than mental health. 

Our Mission

Drive community solutions to promote mental health for all.

Our Vision

A future of hope and understanding that promotes the health and well-being of all people.

Ima Hogg (Circa 1900)

Known as the “First Lady of Texas,” Ima Hogg was the only daughter of Texas governor James Stephen Hogg. As an early advocate of mental health, she had a simple yet profound vision, “to provide a mental health program for the people of Texas.” MHA of Greater Houston presents an annual Ima Hogg Award “to an individual or couple who have advanced mental health causes.”

Ima Hogg (Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Houston)

The B4Stage4 Philosophy

Much of MHA’s work is guided by its Before Stage 4 (B4Stage4) philosophy – that mental health conditions should be treated long before they reach the most critical points in the disease process. When we think about diseases like cancer or heart disease, we don’t wait years to treat them. We start before Stage 4—we begin with prevention, identify symptoms, and develop a plan of action to stop and hopefully reverse the progression of the disease. Like other diseases, it is critical to address symptoms early and plan an appropriate course of action on a path towards overall health.