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Mental Health Association of Orange County

Who We Are

Agency Programs

Three Mental Health Outpatient Recovery Clinics

Mental health professionals provide primary mental health assessment, diagnosis and treatment, medication services, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention and case management, support and encouragement to individuals struggling with chronic and persistent mental illness.  All clients are referred by the County of Orange Health Care Agency.  Services are provided at three program locations including; Costa Mesa, Garden Grove and Lake Forest. 

Three Psychosocial Consumer Clubhouses

Clubhouses compliment the Outpatient Recovery Centers and are located in Costa Mesa, Garden Grove and Lake Forest and open to anyone receiving services from the County of Orange or its contracting partners. The Clubhouse is member driven, designed and operated solely by mental health clients. The Clubhouse provides a supportive environment, a self-help and empowering setting, which focuses on the strength of individuals with social, recreational activities, education and programs which help to realize each members potential.

Two Wellness and Peer Support Centers

The Wellness Centers provide a safe and nurturing environment for each individual to achieve his/her vision of recovery from mental illness while promoting acceptance, dignity, and social inclusion. The programs provide peer-to-peer support and community integration, offering an array of groups and resources to increase the wellness of the community of Orange County.

Homeless Mentally Ill Multi-Service Center (Options)

The Homeless Multi-Service Center is open 365 days a year, 6am – 4pm serving meals, providing showers, laundry, access to county mental health clinics as well as telephone and address contact to persons who are homeless and have a severe and persistent mental illness. Student nurses from 5 nursing colleges, rotate through the mulit-service center providing health education, hypertension and blood sugar testing and first aid, to fulfill community nursing curriculum requirements. Supportive services; back to work, housing assistance, substance abuse counseling and SSI benefits assistance are provided.

Homeless Mental Illness Outreach Team

The Homeless Outreach Team locates, engages and provides linkage to the MHA Homeless MultiService Center as well as outside providers, shelter and income resources for homeless persons with a mental illness. Bi-lingual (Spanish/English) team builds rapport with the most treatment resistant of the homeless.  They distribute hygiene items, non-perishable food, water, socks, blankets and limited clothing along with other resources and meet individuals in parks, feeding sites and other homeless enclaves. A strengths-based psychosocial wellness philosophy is utilized by staff with the goal of instilling hope and motivation in the individuals they encounter and then actively linking them to the services that will end their homelessness and stabilize their symptoms.

Homeless Veterans Outreach Team

Case workers link qualifying veterans with services through the Veterans Administration (VA) and provide general compassion and support to those they serve.  Clients are transported to the VA whenever needed, and are assisted every step of the process as they seek assistance.  At least 33% of the homeless population in the US are male veterans and many do not know if they qualify for VA benefits.  Case workers  help clients apply for healthcare benefits, retirement, and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers (similar to Section 8 housing vouchers) to move homeless veterans into permanent housing.

Housing Services for Homeless Mentally Ill

Housing program is unique in Orange County in its ability to assist homeless individuals suffering from a mental illness transition out of homelessness and emergency shelters into permanent, independent housing. Staff assists clients with housing options, provides transportation for housing search, negotiates with landlords, prepares clients for independent living, assists in Section 8 housing application, collects donated furniture and household items and provides case management for successful long-term placement.

Back to Work Program for Homeless Mentally Ill

MHA’s Back to Work program maximizes job placement and retention through various supportive services, pre and post placement activities and job coaching. Referrals are made through MHA Homeless Multi-Service Center, County of Orange Clinics and County Contract agencies. Program’s “open door” policy welcomes clients who return for new employment needs

Resource and Referral Services

This community service links callers to MHA programs and services, county mental health clinics, local agencies and organizations, psychiatric facilities, support groups and other requested information.

Hospital/Client Advocacy Services

This program provides trained volunteer hearing advocates for all Orange County’s probable cause hearings regarding involuntary hospital stays. Advocates fulfill a state-mandated role in explaining the hearing and supporting patients through the process. Advocates enable clients to have fair and impartial hearings based on criteria for the holds.

SSI Benefits Outreach Team

Staff assists mental health clients unable to work, due to mental illness, through the application process for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and any/all subsequent follow-up needed for approval.  All referrals are made through Orange County Health Care Agency and contracting partners.

Representative Payee Services

This program is approved by the Social Security Administration and provides financial case management services to disabled individuals to assure appropriate use of income to address needs and strengthen basic skills and money management.

Project Together Mentor Program for Children/TAY/Parents

Provides mentoring services for children, youth and families that are receiving mental health treatment through the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Children & Youth Services (CYS) and CYS contracted programs. Mentors are matched with children and youth receiving mental health treatment from the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Children and Youth Services and its’ contract agencies.  Project Together provides a safe, ethical and professional mentor program for the minor client, and their parents/care givers.  

Consumer Operated Thrift Store/Job Training Center

Located in Santa Ana, the Keep It Simple Thrift Store provides training and support to clients in preparation for community employment:  including workplace culture, merchandising skills, time management, and customer service.  The store is also a revenue source for the agency.

Orange County Task Force on Hoarding

The Orange County Task Force on Hoarding is a volunteer, advisory group that meets monthly to review existing residential hoarding situations that affect the health and safety of individuals in Orange County.  As such, the Task Force itself does not provide direct services but is comprised of representatives of agencies and programs that often are able to help.  Organizations that encounter hoarding situations are encouraged to bring challenging cases to the monthly task force meeting for review (confidentiality rules apply) with the goal of identifying strategies, developing plans and locating resources that may help bring about a positive outcome for all involved.

Training Videos on Mental Illnesses for Police/First Responders

In collaboration with the Orange and Santa Ana police departments, MHA has produced a series of first responder training videos for dealing with Chronic Homelessness, Autism, Hoarding, Schizophrenia, Involuntary Holds, (W and I Code 5150) best practices and intervention strategies.  The purpose of the series of training videos is to provide officers and first responders with a deeper understanding of mental illnesses and the most effective way of approaching people in crisis when called upon to intervene.

Wellness Works! Wellness in the Workplace Program

Through specialized trainings and workshops, Wellness Works! provides meaningful, real-world solutions to the most common dilemmas business organizations face related to employee mental health:   complying with state and federal employment laws; improving communication and working relationships between managers, employees, and coworkers; increasing productivity; reducing employee absenteeism; boosting workplace morale and employee engagement; minimizing avoidable worker’s compensation claims and disability-related leaves and their associated costs; and supporting valued employees with empathy and compassion.

What We Do

Founded in 1958, the Mental Health Association of Orange County (MHA) is a private, non-profit community-based mental health and social services agency dedicated to improving the quality of life of Orange County residents impacted by mental illness through direct service, advocacy, education, and information dissemination.  MHA provides services for individuals from the ages of 5 years old to 75 years old and all of its services are provided within the context of the psychosocial rehabilitation philosophy.  The primary goal of our programs is to eliminate functional deficits, and interpersonal and environmental barriers created by mental illness in an effort to restore the ability to live independently, socialize and manage life effectively.  By addressing the practical and realistic elements of the individual’s needs, our programs create a supportive environment which encourages the individual to make positive choices and experience growth.

MHA offers a full continuum of care for individuals with a mental illness. From its humble beginnings, 55 years ago as a small, volunteer advocacy and referral agency, MHA has grown into one of the largest Orange County-based non-profit mental health and social services providers serving over 17,000 individuals per year, with 7 locations throughout Orange County and providing a safety-net for the poor and indigent individuals in Orange County struggling with severe and persistent mental illness, stigma and discrimination.  We believe the road to recovery begins on the streets, and progresses slowly towards stability, stopping many times along with way.  If an individual is to experience positive growth, we must meet them at the intersection of their needs and abilities, which requires our services to be accessible, culturally competent, and sensitive to special needs.


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