About Cal Voices (A continuation of NorCal MHA)
In 1946, coalition of mental health patients, mental health service providers, and interested community members began a local Mental Health Association chapter in Sacramento, which is now known as Cal Voices, a continuation of NorCal MHA. For nearly 70 years, Cal Voices has provided mental health consumers with culturally-affirming peer support services, assistance in navigating various human service agencies, and advocacy for consumer-oriented public mental health policies. Currently, Cal Voices provides these services in Amador, Placer, and Sacramento counties in California, and offers technical assistance to other mental health agencies statewide.
Cal Voices is dedicated to improving the lives of residents in the diverse communities of California through advocacy, education, research, and culturally relevant services. In all of its programs, Cal Voices works with individuals and families with mental health challenges to promote wellness and recovery, prevention, and improved access to services and support.
Cal Voices staff strive to provide peer services that foster recovery, reduce stigma and discrimination, and improve cultural competency through self-help, education, and culturally relevant research.
Mental Health America – National
Mental Health America (MHA) is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. It was established in 1909 by former psychiatric patient, Clifford W. Beers, who witnessed and was subjected to horrible abuse at public and private psychiatric institutions. He believed the abuses he and others experienced were barriers to recovery and treatment. As a result, he set in motion the first consumer-led mental health movement in America.
Today, with 240 affiliates nationwide, MHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million individuals living with mental illness, through advocacy, education, research and service. As a result, the experiences of people living with mental illness have vastly improved and they are now able to enjoy more fulfilling, productive lives in their communities.
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 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.