Mental Health America (Formerly National Mental Health Association)

The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) recently changed its name to Mental Health America (MHA) and says that it addresses all aspects of mental health and mental illness. It is a key sponsor of the annual National Screening for Depression program. For years it has been driven by pharmaceutical company dollars and, in turn, drives their agenda.

  • In 2000, media exposed how MHA received significant funds from Eli Lilly, which refers journalists to the organization for information—around $1 million in funding.[1]
  • MHA’s 2001 Annual Report lists nearly $2 million from the following pharmaceutical companies: Eli Lilly ($700,000), Pfizer ($500,000), Janssen, McNeill and Wyeth ($400,000-499,999), Forest ($300,000–399,999), AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; Bristol-Myers Squibb ($200,000-299,000); Eli Lilly Foundation ($50,000-99,999); GlaxoSmithKline (GSK):($10,000-49,999), Abbott ($5,000-9,999).[2]
  • In September 2002, the National Mental Health Association (Mental Health America) and Jed Foundation sent 3,000 college presidents a letter and 13-page study called “Safeguarding Your Students Against Suicide” underwritten by Wyeth and Forest Labs.[3]
  • MHA’s 2006 annual report shows the group received over $1 million each from Lilly, Bristol-Myers, and Wyeth. Janssen and Pfizer gave between $500,000 and $1,000,000, and AstraZeneca and Forest donated between $100,000 and $499,000. Glaxo gave between $50,000 and $100,000 in 2006.[4]
  • Their 2007 Annual Report showed the slush fund continued: Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Wyeth gave $1 million or more. Janssen and Pfizer donated between $500,000 to $999,999. AstraZeneca and Forest gave between $100,000 to $499,999, while GSK increased their donation to between $50,000 to $99,999, along with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Shire US and Solvay gave ($10,000 to $24,999).[5]
  • Mental Health America has recently been awarded a $750,000 grant by Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation.[6]
  • In 2008, Pfizer donated at least $500,000 to Mental Health America’s so-called “Campaign for America’s Mental Health” while Eli Lilly donated $300,000 in 2007. However, it raked in over $3 million in pharmaceutical company funding in one year alone.[7]
  • Mental Health America’s study “Ranking America’s Mental Health” that supposedly ranked the states by depression and suicide rates was heralded by psychiatrists and received high-profile attention from news, yet in citing the report never mentioned that Wyeth funded the project.[8]

Ray Moynihan, Alan Cassels, authors of Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning Us All into Patients also found from extensive research that “partnering with patient groups has become a key element of marketing strategies for every major medical condition, with virtually every drug company.”[9]

[1] Craig Offman, “Prozac Indignation,” Salon Magazine, May 17, 2000.

[2] National Mental Health Association Annual Report 2001, p. 10.

[3] Paul Glader, “From the Maker of Effexor: Campus Talks on Depression,” Wall Street Journal, 10 Oct. 2002.


[5] “2007 Annual Report,” Mental Health America, 2007.




[9] Ray Moynihan, Alan Cassels, Selling Sickness, (Nation Books, New York, 2005), p. 62.