About Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee

Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee (formerly known as Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee) was founded in 1946 by Vanderbilt’s first Chair of Psychiatry, Dr. Frank Luton with underwriting by the Junior League of Nashville.  Our mission is to connect the community with specialized mental health and wellness resources, provide services that improve the quality of life, and promote effective services where mental health needs exist.  Over the years, the MHAMT has worked diligently to educate all members of our community about how to attain good mental health. We share our message of hope for mental wellness to thousands of individuals annually.

By being a front line resource for the community for so many decades, MHAMT is in a position to identify important mental health needs in Middle Tennessee, and we often facilitate the development of programs to meet those needs or enhance resources to address service gaps.

Learn more about why the Bell of Hope is our symbol.

Annual Reports


Download a PDF version of the MHAMT Annual Report:




Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s oldest and largest mental health advocacy organization. It was founded by Clifford Beers, a consumer of mental health services, in 1909. It was originally the mental hygiene movement that became Mental Health America. At its centennial celebration the named was changed to Mental Health America, and many of the independent affiliates followed suit.

Mental Health America of Middle Tennessee (MHAMT) was founded in 1946 by Vanderbilt’s first Chair of Psychiatry, Dr. Frank Luton, with underwriting provided by the Junior League of Nashville. The core of the organization was a helpline and community resources, which remain a constant today. In 1988, the agency expanded from serving Nashville to serving Middle Tennessee, and many MHAMT programs and services are statewide today.

Throughout its history, MHAMT launched or helped start the Dede Wallace Center (now part of Centerstone), Tennessee Voices for Children, Park Center, the Crisis Intervention Center, the Mental Health Cooperative, an adult daycare center, Hickory Hall School, and many other Middle Tennessee mainstays.

Today, 1 in 4 people have a diagnosable mental illness in the United States. Half of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by age 14. Suicide is a top-10 cause of death, and it is the most preventable form of death. About 75% of all substance abuse is accompanied by a diagnosable mental illness. Mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, suicide ideation, eating disorders, postpartum depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, aspects of bullying, and so much more.

Based on its history, MHA is unique in that it was founded by a consumer of mental health services, has hundreds of incorporated affiliates, and was founded on prevention, recovery, social inclusion, and other vital aspects of mental health.

You can take a free, anonymous and completely confidential mental health screening today for common issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, workplace wellness and more.