Since 1933, Mental Health America of Central Carolinas (MHA) has been the voice of hope for persons affected by mental illness. Though the organization's name has changed over the years and coverage has widened to include Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, our focus of advocacy and education has not altered.
Today, MHA is a fully staffed organization with a Board of Directors driven to improve and enhance the local mental health services' delivery system through a variety of programs.
Cast from shackles which bound them, this bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness.
(Inscription on Mental Health Bell, Mental Health America)
During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained 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, 1956, 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.
One Conversation Opens up Pathways
There are over 1,200 lives lost to suicide in North Carolina alone each year.