Mental Health America Porter County History
In 1953 a small group of caring community members, with a budget of $259, formed the Mental Health Association in Porter County. Their mission… to advocate for the mentally ill. Today, over 60 years later, we continue to be a voice for the mentally ill and have broadened our services to provide education, resource and referral and support to help all members of our community improve and maintain their mental wellness.
The Bell Story
"Cast from shackles bound them. This bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness."
-Inscription on Mental Health Bell
During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained persons with mental illnesses by 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 (MHA) 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. MHA melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell.
Now the symbol of MHA, 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.