1980s: Focus on Youth and Families

In the 1980s, the MHAC continued to focus on providing services to youth and their families, as well as the people with chronic mental illness.

In 1981, MHAC established the TEANS (Teach Early Adolescents New Skills) Program. This program taught 14,000 Denver area adolescents stress management techniques, guidance on how to handle peer pressure, and problem-solving skills. 1982 also proved to be a busy year, with the start of MHAC’s Early Intervention Program (later renamed “Building Self Esteem in Preschoolers”).

In 1986, MHAC developed its signature community program: the Pro Bono Counseling & Referral Program. This program recruits mental health professionals to provide free mental health services to homeless and low-income adults, children, and families. Volunteers are matched with host site agencies, where the program is delivered. The first of its kind in the nation, the Pro Bono Counseling & Referral Program has become a nationally recognized model program. In October 1989, the Pro Bono Counseling & Referral Program was selected from over 100 entries nationwide to receive a national award from the 41st Institute of Hospital and Community Psychiatry of the American Psychiatric Association.