During World War II, a group of young Mennonite conscientious objectors staffed state mental hospitals. Through these experiences, a desire grew within them to respond to the mental health needs in their own communities. They believed that there had to be a better way to provide professional care for the mentally ill than what they saw in these institutions.
Over the next decade, Mennonite mental health facilities opened across the United States. Philhaven was one of those centers, dedicated to providing the highest quality mental health services within a Christian environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Philhaven's doors opened on May 7, 1952, as a 26-bed inpatient facility with outpatient and community education services. Philhaven grew over the years to offer a continuum of mental health services for all ages throughout Lancaster, Lebanon, Dauphin and York counties at 22 locations and in the community, becoming the fourteenth largest mental and behavioral health provider in the nation. The organization remained an agency of the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church USA.
The vision to “find a better way” that created Philhaven continues to guide us today. Behavioral healthcare services have changed and improved dramatically since Philhaven opened in 1952.
In January 2016, Philhaven affiliated with WellSpan Health, bringing together the region’s most complete continuum of behavioral health services and south central Pennsylvania’s largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health system. WellSpan Philhaven is the new organization formed by the combination of Philhaven and WellSpan Behavioral Health.