Seventy-five percent of psychiatric illnesses manifest by the age of 24, just when youth are beginning to chart their educational and career paths. It is important to reach these young adults before they become isolated or lost within the complex and fragmented mental health system.
The Young Adult Program at Fountain House is designed to specifically reach young men and women ages 18 – 30 and provide them with a community of people who recognize their unique challenges while providing the support and expertise to help them pursue their dreams.
Young adults give presentations about mental illness and the Fountain House model at non-profits, community centers and schools throughout New York City. Recreational activities are planned including visits to galleries, broadway shows, and sports events.
Launched in 2013, UNITY gives youth in transition – aging out of foster care, shelters and psychiatric facilities – access to critical resources, including housing, public benefits, social networks, education, and employment. Without requiring participants to become members of Fountain House, the program offers the experience of connection and self-empowerment as participants actively engage with Fountain House peer-mentors and staff to identify and pursue resources they need to achieve independence. UNITY participants are referred by homeless shelters, inpatient mental health facilities or the Manhattan Mental Health Court.
Some young adults in UNITY have chosen to become Fountain House members. All are housed, while some are in transitional employment and returning to school. Others continue to benefit significantly from the program by accessing resources outside the Fountain House community while remaining in close touch with their Fountain House peer-mentors for ongoing support.