About Bell

Bell Socialization Services, Inc. began in 1966 as “The Bell Club,” a social gathering for people being discharged from local psychiatric hospitals into the greater York, PA community.

Here’s a glimpse into our early history.

Over the years, services evolved and expanded and, in 1977, programs were added to assist individuals with intellectual disabilities. In 1986, the agency added shelter services to meet the needs of York County’s homeless families.


All of Bell’s services  – mental health, intellectual disability, and shelter – follow the psychosocial rehabilitation model, which focuses on:

– assessing individual strengths and needs,

setting personal goals, and

providing an environment that encourages growth and development.

Bell’s ultimate goal is to help service users live as independently as possible in the community.

Bell Socialization Services, Inc. is a private 501 (c)(3) organization funded in part by federal, state, and local governments, as well as grants and tax-deductible donations.


"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, Maryland, 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 who are living with mental illness.

Over the years, national mental health leaders and other prominent individuals have rung the bell to mark continued progress in the fight for victory over mental illnesses.