The Fountain House working community model is based on the belief that members are partners in their own recovery, rather than the passive recipients of treatment, and that meaningful work and relationships are integral to mental health.
Many people living with mental illness are alone in the larger society – either without adequate treatment or meeting individually with a case manager. At Fountain House, people living with mental illness, mental health professionals, and committed volunteers gather as a community. Together, they plan and administer every program and function of the organization, truly relying on each other to reach common objectives.
The inherent humanity, social inclusivity, personal empowerment, and innovation of this approach has inspired its replication the world over and has earned federal recognition in the US as an evidence-based practice. Success is measured through outcomes in social inclusion – such as jobs, schooling, housing, and wellness.
Its inspiration and cross cultural effectiveness come from the expert application of several core principles – the principles of personal choice, collaboration, and the need to be needed - principles that are fundamental to all human social activity and personal development.