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Our History

The Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers' Association (PMHCA) was founded in 1986 through the efforts of dedicated advocates who learned from their own experiences in the mental health system.

PMHCA began as a consumer-run, volunteer staffed organization dedicated to assuring the rights of people with mental illness were recognized and accorded to them by mental health professionals; and, to ending the stigma associated with mental illness experienced by so many people.

In 1996, funding was obtained to hire a full-time executive director and office space was provided in the Harrisburg State Hospital in what was then the Office of Mental Health. The mental health consumer movement in Pennsylvania expanded and nationally continued to strengthen and grow. Today, there are thirteen full-time staff members, one part-time and eleven board members.

PMHCA recognizes the expertise that comes out of lived experience. We are an organization that is governed, managed, and staffed by individuals who identify as being on their own mental health recovery journeys. We work together to support all recovery journeys.

PMHCA has grown into a member organization with a current membership base of over 450 – and still growing.