MHA

Welcome to Mental Health America of East Central Florida

Mission Statement:

Through action and by commitment, the Mental Health America of East Central Florida (MHA), strives to ensure that people with mental illnesses are provided with needed resources and are accepted into the community through increasing awareness that mental health is an integral part of overall health.

What We Do:

Mental Health America of East Central Florida (MHA) provides programs and services that support persons with mental illnesses, their families and friends and the community with needed information, referrals and resources. Our programs also support the acceptance of people with mental illness into our communities through increasing awareness and the reduction of stigmas surrounding mental illnesses.

The services we provide support the view that mental health is an integral part of overall health are; drop in centers, information and referral services, guardian advocate training, parenting classes for divorcing families, post partum depression assessment and counseling, psychological first aid, counseling for veterans and family members, support groups, suicide prevention coalition, speakers bureau, education and advocacy, and other supportive services that help bridge the gap in treatment and prevention in our community.

History:

The Story of Our Symbol: The Mental Health Bell

“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

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.