October Agency Spotlight- MHCAN

Never believe that a few caring people

cant change the world. For, indeed, that’s

all who ever have.”- Margaret Mead

Did you know?

  • 1 in 100 (2.4 million) American adults live
  • With Schizophrenia.
  • 2.6%(6.1 million) of American adults live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9%(16million of American adults live with major depression)
  • 18.1% (42 million) of American adults live with anxiety disorder.

Nearly 1 in 25 adults (approximately 13.6 million) of Americans live with a serious mental illness. You might think that these people get helped, that their lives are spent in the warm, comforted room of their psychiatrists. That’s not necessarily the case. There are those who struggle with a multiple diagnosis or from severe cases of just one. Sometimes these people don’t get the help they need. Their psychiatrists would only prescribe more medication that may cause a whole different problem (which take even more complicated medication to fix it). Many counselors might give up on these complicated cases, and the clients? Well they may repeat the process with another councilor or fall deeper down the rabbit hole, many turn to the streets.

But that’s not where Sarah Leonard is, she’s of the few who have got out of the routine and is helping others get out/off the streets and into helping hands. Her philosophies would tell you that each person recovers differently, day by day and around the community that understands- that’s what MHCAN is (Mental Health Client Action Network). MHCAN was initially begun by PIRC- a radical group of psychiatric survivors called Psychiatric Inmate Rights Collective. MHCAN became an important figure in the community that it was established as an official organization and was given County Mental Health Funding. With the help of The William James Foundation, MHCAN turned into a nonprofit corporation (as of August 11th, 1995).

Today, MHCAN is a home/community that helps those with multiple diagnosis and gives people the loving community that they may not get anywhere else. MHCAN provides:

  • Dual Diagnosis Interventions
  • Dual Diagnosis Detox Recovery Companions
  • Clean and Sober Dual Diagnosis Support by the Hour
  • Early sobriety dual diagnosis support packages
  • Part time (8-12 hours) Daily support
  • FULL time (24hours) dual diagnosis detox recovery companions for withdrawal from heroin, methamphetamine, etc.

Sarah, Elisa, Helen, and Patrick have upheld the responsibility of helping those who struggle with mental disorders and/or addictions. Together they are part of the recovery team that focus solely to the recovering health of the men and women who arrive. This team provides what others don’t- a family that understands what each one of its members are going through. Why? Because each member has gone through something similar.

Over the years mental health issues have risen, but recovery isn’t always easy, especially when cases get more complex or the environment doesn’t offer the support they need. MHCAN teaches that those who have trouble with multiple diagnosis or heavy mental struggles have a chance to recover; One day at a time, in a safe community, and always with others who understand what they’re going through. It welcomes all, gives healthy food, and a great community.

Sarah and Thomas packing the van at the distribution center


Sarah and Thomas have been awesome shoppers at the Distribution Center every Tuesday and Thursday. They are especially known for their ability to pack so much into their black van. It’s always a warm welcome when they come in and the Second Harvest Food Bank is very grateful to have MHCAN as a partnering Agency.


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