Adults with serious mental illness demonstrate the worst level of unemployment of any group with disabilities; in spite of that, many have the skills and the desire to work, and can with some help.  Barriers to employment may be anxiety; gaps in work history; and stigma, including self-stigma, among others. In the 50 years we have been supporting members on the job, we have developed innovative methods to help them overcome these challenges and deliver outstanding performance. Working within some of the most prestigious corporations in New York City, we tailor our services to the needs of each member and their employer.
This ensures that our members have a solid foundation from which to launch their professional success, and that our corporate partners have great employees.
Poor preventative health care is an epidemic among those with serious mental illness, resulting in a life expectancy 19 years shorter than the national average. Our Wellness initiative, created in 2004, in response to the tragic deaths of four members under 40 within a month, is incorporated throughout Fountain House. It includes nutritional counseling and healthy food offerings, personal training and access to on-site fitness equipment, and education on a range of topics from preventative testing to stress management. We offer an extensive smoking cessation program, one of three pilot projects in New York City grant-funded by The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Additionally, we provide integrated psychiatric and primary medical care for members at The Storefront, an off-site clinic operated in partnership with St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.
Thanks to the generosity of Adam and Peter B. Lewis, we expect to open our newly renovated Wellness Center next year.
Many people diagnosed with a mental illness feel that continuing their education is impossible. Undeniably, students who are managing mental illness must surmount many obstacles to succeed in school, but with the proper supports they can meet their academic goals, whether that is receiving a GED or a PhD. Fountain House has developed an array of supports that enable students not only to return to school but to excel. As one of the largest education programs of its kind, Fountain House assists an average of 133 students each semester in a variety of academic settings – GED classes, technical schools, colleges, and graduate studies.
Fountain House is committed to offering safe, affordable and dignified housing to as many members as possible. We have been helping our members create homes since 1958, and today we have one of the largest supported housing networks in New York State, serving some 500 men and women. Recognizing that every person wants and needs something different in their living situation, each home is unique – from 24-hour staffed supported buildings to single room hotels, to shared and single apartments with mobile support teams.
While our members live in a variety of home situations, those who live in Fountain House Housing must be New York State residents and are subject to further eligibility requirements.
The transitional years from adolescence to adulthood are filled with firsts – first move away for home, first day of college, first love. And for those who struggle with mental health issues, it is often the time when they first manifest. Amid the pressures to forge their own identities and identify academic and career paths, these young people have the added burden of accepting a diagnosis and finding proper treatment. Fear of being different and a lack of understanding from even the most well-intentioned friends and family can lead to feeling alone and hopeless.
The Young Adult Program at Fountain House reaches out to these young men and women and provides a community of people who recognize their unique challenges while providing the support and expertise to help them pursue their dreams.