The Mental Health Association of Frederick County builds a strong foundation of emotional wellness for our community by preparing resilient children, securing vulnerable families and standing with people to facing crises together.
At MHA, we envision a future where children can grow and thrive without fear, where good mental health is valued, where people of all ages know when and how to seek help for emotional or family problems without shame, and where everyone will have access to the services they need without barriers.
The Mental Health Association of Frederick County (MHA) has served the community as a private, non-profit organization since 1965. The agency has grown and evolved continuously in the 50+ years since our founding. MHA now supports the whole community by preparing resilient children, securing vulnerable families, and standing with people to face crises together.
MHA began by offering information and referral services, public education, and advocacy about issues related to mental health and mental illness on a part-time basis.
1985—As a response to a need for young persons to access support and information on various mental health concerns, MHA started our Call Center. In 1990, the Call Center began operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and answers local, state and national calls for health and human services. Call Specialists provide information and referral, supportive listening and crisis intervention to any person who calls.
1987—As the County grew and the need for affordable and quality child care services increased, MHA formed Child Care Choices (CCC), a child care resource and referral service. CCC provides State-approved professional development opportunities for early education professionals and offers technical assistance for startup, continued operation, or improving quality of early child care and education businesses.
1994—MHA assumed Counseling Services, a sliding fee scale agency that had been struggling financially. The program now offers counseling to anyone of any age requesting treatment, regardless of ability to pay for service. In addition, the program serves as a clinical placement for graduate students, thus ensuring the future of the mental health profession. MHA is the only place in the county to offer these two services on a full time, year round basis.
1996—MHA started offering Suicide Prevention and Intervention Training to the community. These trainings help people learn to be suicide alert and to intervene when someone has thoughts of suicide. In 2006, we expanded and started offering ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training).
1997—MHA added the Telephone Reassurance Program that offers scheduled, outgoing phone calls to the homebound and elderly.
1998—MHA started its signature fundraising event, the Catoctin Affair.
2002—Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchange was added. The program provides a safe, neutral location for non-custodial parents and their children to build and strengthen healthy family bonds.
2002—MHA added Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in response to changes in MD’s law regarding the role of a child’s attorney. Volunteer CASAs represent the best interests of foster children in the court system and advocates to secure each of them a safe, permanent home.
2003—Child Care Choices expanded and took over operations of Carroll County’s child care resource and referral agency.
2004—Survivors of Suicide Support Group started as a monthly support group for adults who have lost loved ones to suicide. The group is facilitated by a licensed mental health professional.
2007—PERKS (Partnerships for Emotionally Resilient Kids) program provides on-site assistance in early education programs, to promote the social and emotional development of young children, while decreasing or preventing challenging behaviors through an approach that works with educators, children, and parents.
2008—Systems Navigation added to the expanding services available to families. This program assists families who have children with intensive needs, helping the family navigate the complex systems of care. This program has become an integral part of MHA by providing services to the families participating in other MHA programs.
2010—MHA added Healthy Families Frederick, an intensive, in-home education, support and resources to first-time parents and infants to age five.
2008—Mental Health First Aid added to MHA’s services. It is a training course designed to equip non-mental health professionals and the general public to help someone who is experiencing a mental health problem or crisis before appropriate professional or family support arrives.
2010—MHA purchased a building at 226 S. Jefferson Street and started renovations.
2010—Parent Coaching offers in-home or center-based one-on-one coaching for parents referred to MHA from the Department of Social Services.
2012—MHA moved its offices into the newly renovated space at 226 S. Jefferson Street. Many programs were still held off-site due to lack of space.
2013—Walk-in Behavioral Health Services provides free, immediate, face-to-face support for anyone experiencing a non-life-threatening emotional, mental, family or relationship crisis.
2014—MHA opened the completed Community Services Wing and moved off-site programs to our new location.
2016—MHA added a psychiatrist to our complement of services and Counseling Services achieved status as a CARF Accredited Outpatient Mental Health Clinic.
2017—Two programs started focusing resources on families impacted by incarceration—parent coaching and systems navigation. In addition, MHA partnered with Children of Incarcerate Parents Partnership to strengthen and codify the curriculum that they use to provide classes to parents in the detention center.
As our history illustrates, MHA is dedicated to serving the most vulnerable of our population of all ages. By providing a comprehensive array of services, we have been successful at building a strong foundation of mental wellness for adults, children, and families and achieving positive results.