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Who We Are

The MWAA is a state-wide non-profit corporation established June 2012 which focuses on education for prevention, early intervention, scientific research and cures of mental health problems.


Mental Health First Aid for Military Members, Veterans, and Their Families training announced for Friday, March 31st, 2017 | Learn More >>

What is Mental Wellness?

According to the World Health Organization, mental wellness is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
We promote mental wellness by giving our community the tools to recognize and intervene in mental health problems in themselves, their friends, their family, and others.
We offer Four (4) programs to positively affect our vision and mission:
Mental Health First Aid: Mental Health First Aid is an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis. MHFA teaches you signs of addictions and mental illnesses; impact of mental and substance abuse disorders; 5-step action plan to assess a situation and help; and local resources where to turn for help.
Mental Wellness Presentations: Members of the Board make public presentations on mental wellness issues. They may last from 10 minutes to several hours.
Mental Wellness Research Information: Everyday better treatment modalities and wellness initiatives are being discovered. The MWAA disseminates the newest research information at public events, via electronic social networking sites, the internet, and phone and at various health fairs, etc.
Mental Health Advance Directives: MHADs allows someone to make their choices known regarding mental health treatment in the event a mental illness strikes and prevents their ability to make decisions. Everyone should have a Mental Health Advance Directive on file with their physician.
To learn more about our programs, check out our Program Page.

Our Vision

We envision a world that through public education values prevention, early intervention, scientific research, and cures of mental health problems for the holistic health of the individual and society.

Our Mission

We are building healthier lives free of mental health problems through educational outreach.

A Healthy Mind is a Healthier Life

Did you Know? You are more likely to encounter a person in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined.

The Board

President: Susan Boyle, B.A.
Vice-President: John Bart, D.O.
Secretary/Treasurer: Diane Acri, J.D.
Ellie Alphin, B.A.
Lisa Barnes, M.S.W.
Jim Burgess, M.Ed.
Juliana Dugent, B.S.
Thomas P. Gannon, J.D.
Elizabeth Ridgeway, M.S. M.B.A.
Alyce Spector, B.S. ED
Amy Whitmore, M.A.
Exec. Director: Sharon Engdahl, B.So. Sc
Assist. to the Exec. Director: Alexa Moody, A.A.

CBS 21 News Making a Difference: The American Mental Wellness Association

CBS 21 News Making a Difference: Mental Health and Wellness

Quest for the Cure: Scientific Breakthroughs in Treating Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health Director Tom Insel changes minds — or should we say, changes brains — about the science of mental health. He has never been satisfied with treatments that help individuals get "better but not well." His tenure at NIMH is marked by groundbreaking findings in the areas of practical clinical trials, autism research, and the role of genetics in mental illness. Insel shares the results of cutting-edge research that supports early identification and prevention of major mental disorders, from autism to schizophrenia, as well as substance use disorders.

The Science Guy | Bostonia | Boston University

Insight with Sylvia Maus

Radio Interview with Please Live on Teen Suicide Prevention

Shots - Health News From NPR:
Halting Schizophrenia Before It Starts

image courtesy of

Schizophrenia typically starts in the late teens or early 20s. But if you could stop that first psychotic break, could you stop the mental illness in its tracks? Some doctors think so. Read This Story >>

Girl Scouts Mental Health Awareness Patch

Did you know that the International Bipolar Foundation developed the first Mental Health Awareness Patch for the Girl Scouts of the United States of America?

image courtesy of

With the increase in youth bullying, suicide and drug use, Girl Scouts are actively fighting to create change. Through a program to educate and reduce the stigma of mental illness, Girl Scouts can earn the Mental Health Awareness Patch for playing a positive role in their communities. Learn more from IBPF »