Mental Health Association in Butler County
Working Together for Healthier Minds
The Mental Health Association is a non-profit organization of dedicated volunteers and staff who are interested in and concerned about the issues of mental health and those who struggle with mental illness. The organization began in the early decade of the 20's in the mind of a former mental patient, Clifford Beers. Having spent some time himself in the wards of a mental hospital, Beers was painfully aware of the stigma and powerlessness that accompanies mental illness. Having recovered and rejoined his community, he raised his voice to speak on behalf of other patients who were still hospitalized. Beers invited others to "volunteer to advocate on behalf of those with no voice to be heard" and was joined by countless others across the nation. Thus began the movement, which later became known as the Mental Health Association. The charge of the organization was to provide advocacy for those who could not speak for themselves and public education to the community-at-large.
The mission of the Association is:
• To promote public awareness of mental health and acceptance of mental illness.
• To promote public recognition of mental health disorders and reduce stigma.
• To assist person with mental illness and their families to enrich their lives in the hospital and in the community.
• To serve as advocates for those with mental illness.
The Mental Health Bell
The Mental Health Bell, the symbol for Mental Health America, made its debut on April 13, 1956, being cast from the shackles and chains that once bound individuals detained in asylums across the country. Today that bell holds the hope of eliminating stigma and discrimination of individuals suffering from mental illness.
“Cast from shackles which bound them, this bell shall ring out hope for the mentally ill and victory over mental illness.”
- Inscription on the Mental Health Bell
The Mental Health Association in Butler County began operations in 1956, from the vision of Charles and Pamela Grabe. For almost six decades MHA of Butler County has been providing services to individuals with mental illness and their families. In its early days, the agency was composed entirely of volunteers. In the mid 1960's, the MHA of Butler County employed its first paid staff members, and in the years following, the organization continued its work with only an Executive Director, and a secretary. Since the mid-1980's, MHA of Butler County has continued to grow as more programs have been added. Currently, MHA of Butler County employs full-time staff including the Executive Director and eight part-time staff.
Understanding its role as that of a catalyst to guide others into understanding and accepting those with mental illness, the Mental Health Association of Butler County in its early years embarked on a very ambitious campaign of public education in schools and community, which remains a major focus of their activities today. Additionally, MHA of Butler County began to develop services in the Butler community, which included Irene Stacy Community Mental Health Center and Transitional Living, Inc.
During the decade of the 1990's, the MHA had been involved with a variety of programs and services, many of them continuing to be manned by volunteers. MHA of Butler County's services can be broken into three categories; those that serve the individuals with mental illness: Adult Advocacy, Compeer, Representative Payee, Guardianship, and Grapevine fiduciary; those that serve the families of adults and children with mental illness and the community at large: Class Advocacy, Information and Referral, Public Education; and the children's program: Education Advocacy.
• The Mental Health Association of Butler County receives grants from the Butler County MH/EI/ID Office.
• The Mental Health Association of Butler County is a county based United Way Agency.
• The agency also accepts bequests and individual donations.
• The remainder of funding comes from fund-raisers and residents of Butler County who sponsor the MHA.
140 North Elm Street
Butler, PA 16001
Local Phone Numbers:
(724) 287 - 1965
(724) 287 - 3380
(1 888) 329 - 0468
(724) 287 - 7090
24 Hour Crisis Hot-line:
Suicide Prevention Hot-line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)