Junior Mental Health America of Indiana (JMHAI)
JMHAI builds the future
Junior Mental Health America of Indiana (JMHAI) is formed on the same principles as its parent organization, it serves as an educational forum for middle and high school students and provides volunteer and leadership opportunities for its juniormhaimembers. The first JMHA in the nation was formed in Evansville, Indiana (Vanderburgh County) in 1963 by Louise Whiting Fryer. It served the area high schools only. In 1987 Helen Kremzar, a mental health volunteer, developed the middle school Junior Mental Health Association. On May 9, 1966 the Junior Mental Health Association of Indiana was founded. It is the first state Junior Mental Health Association in the nation.
It is estimated that up to 17% or almost 250,000 of Indiana’s children and adolescents have some type of mental disorder. Depression has been linked to poor school performance, truancy, alcohol and drug abuse, and running away. Suicide is often linked to depression. In the last 25 years, the rate of suicide among teenagers and young adults has increased dramatically.
The Junior Mental Health Association offers a wide range of programs:
- Promoting good mental health through education and prevention
- .Helping others
- Developing and providing positive role models for teens in the community — this supports our motto: “teens helping teens”
- “Kids on the Block” educational puppets are available to promote good mental health in lower and middle schools
- JMHA Youth puppeteers are available to give performances across the state
The first Junior Mental Health Association in the country was developed at the high school level in 1963 by Luise Whiting Fryer, a nationally known volunteer in mental health, in Evansville, Indiana. In 1988, this program was expanded to middle schools by Helen Kremzar, a mental health volunteer. The Junior Mental Health Association in Evansville, now serves over 600 students. In 1995, through a grant from Tri Kappa Sorority, the Mental Health America of Indiana initiated a plan to expand the Junior Mental Health Association statewide, under the chairmanship of Ms. Kremzar.
Provide role models for other teens, between the ages of 11 and 21, in the community; to introduce individual commitment to community service; explore career possibilities; to disseminate information about mental illness and treatment; reduce the stigma of mental illness; and to develop future adults and community leaders who will be free of the stigma associated with mental illness.