About Us


The Mental Health Association of San Francisco is a peer-led social justice community dedicated to progressive mental health issues for the past 70 years.

The mission of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco is to cultivate peer leadership, build community, and advance social justice in mental health.

For 70 years, MHASF has reflected the forward-thinking vision San Francisco is known for. We fought stigma and discrimination in mental health across diverse communities and changed policy, perception, and ultimately people. Looking ahead, as a peer-run organization, we know that systems change comes when those affected by the issues are centered in the solutions. Mental health care is changing rapidly, and a more integrated, holistic approach is the expectation for the future, peer workers are at the center of the next evolution of the mental health system, and MHASF is at the forefront.

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Executive Director

Mark Salazar

Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. - 43.8 million, or 18.5% - experience mental health challenges in a given year. *

Peer Support Works

Improved engagement and satisfaction with services

Reduced Hospitalizations

Reduced Overall Cost of Services

Improved Whole Health Including Chronic Illnesses

Leaving more resources, support, and connection in the community. **

People Working with Peers Report: **

Improved quality of life

Decreased depression

Better relationships with providers

Reduced substance use

Higher rates of employment

Within the next 5 years, peers will make up at least 20% of the mental health workforce nationally. **

The Mental Health Association of San Francisco provides quality peer-to-peer supports as well as training, coaching, and placement for the next generation of mental health leaders!

* Source: Nguyen, Teresa, et al, State of Mental Health 2018, Mental Health America, 2017. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/issues/state-mental-health-america

** http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/peer-support-get-facts

Our Impact

2016 - 2017 Fiscal Year

Thank you to our supporters for making this important work possible.

Hours of Peer Support Provided
(That's more than 70 hours a day, 365 days a year)

Would recommend our services to others

Individuals Received Education or Training

Referrals/Linkages Made

Served Through Individual Peer Support

Individuals Engaged in Community Building Events

Our programs are made possible by your generous contributions.

If you're interested in making a donation

The Mental Health Bell


During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums would restrain people who had mental illnesses with iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped.

In the early 1950s, Mental Health America issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles. On April 13, 1953, at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Md., Mental Health America melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell.

Now the symbol of Mental Health America, the 300-pound Bell serves as a powerful reminder that the invisible chains of misunderstanding and discrimination continue to bind people with mental illnesses. Today, the Mental Health Bell rings out hope for improving mental health and achieving victory over mental illnesses.

Over the years, national mental health leaders and other prominent individuals have rung the Bell to mark the continued progress in the fight for victory over mental illnesses.


Find Out More

Get to Know our Staff

Learn About Our Programs

Explore the Training Institute

Discover New Opportunities

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