Our Philosophy

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Mental Health America of Northwest Indiana is a non-profit organization dedicated to overall wellness through personal and family support, while remaining committed to our core principle of advocating on behalf of those experiencing emotional challenges. We lead from a foundation built on prevention and empowerment of vulnerable adults and children, through education, referral, and advocacy.
We believe building Protective Factors supports the overall well-being of children and their families. The Protective Factors framework is a research-driven approach developed by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. This two-generation approach addresses issues related to the parent, the child, and the parent-child relationship and serves as a buffer to help families cope, achieve, and thrive, even during times of stress.

Five Protective Factors

  • Parental resilience: Managing stress and functioning well when faced with challenges, adversity and trauma
  • Knowledge of parenting and child development: Receiving accurate information about raising young children, and learning appropriate and effective strategies to gauge expectations and set limits on child behaviors
  • Social and emotional development of children: Nurturing secure relationships with adults and peers that promote positive interaction and the ability to communicate his or her emotions appropriately
  • Concrete support in times of need: Accessing the basic essentials everyone needs, as well as specialized medical, mental health, social, educational, and legal services to advance quality of life
  • Social connections: Building trusting relationships with friends, family members, neighbors, and others in the community to reduce feelings of isolation and buffer parents from stressors, enabling them to feel confident and empowered.

For more information on Protective Factors visit the Center for the Study of Social Policy website.

Mental Health: The Connection to Early Childhood Development

Nothing transforms a family like the arrival of a new baby and all parents need support during this time. But for those facing the additional challenges of teen parenting, single parenting, and/or parenting with limited financial resources, this support is even more critical to ensure that both parents and children thrive.

Sometimes the pressures parents face are so overwhelming that their ability to manage stress is severely compromised. This is especially true for parents who grew up in troubling environments or difficult circumstances, which created toxic stress. As children, these parents experienced strong, frequent, and prolonged adversity without the buffering protection of a nurturing adult, and may display symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders that inhibit the parent’s ability to respond appropriately to their child.

Through evidence-based home visiting programs, parents can learn how to

  • meet personal challenges and those related to their child;
  • manage adversities;
  • heal the effects of trauma; and
  • thrive based on the unique characteristics and circumstances of their family.

Home visiting programs stimulate change across generations, helping parents deal with stressors in their life while reducing the likelihood of the child growing up in an environment of toxic stress.

Positive Impact

“I’ve been seeing a mom for more than a year who has struggled with depression due to an abusive relationship. Together, we created a safety plan to help her deal with her feelings, and she continues to work through difficult times. She keeps this safety plan on her fridge so when she recognizes that she is having difficulty coping, she can read through it and try one of the activities that help her or call a friend for support. When we met, she had nowhere to turn for help. During our visits, we were able to talk about healthy relationships and about resources and safe places she could go to get out of her situation. After a few months, she decided to follow through with the plan we created, utilizing resources I was able to provide. Today, mom is thriving in a new environment and focusing on her personal growth and the development of her child.”
– MHANWI Family Support Specialist

General Mental Health Data!


Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life.

1 in 5

Amount of Youth helped Icon

Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.

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