“ I’ve spent a lot of my life searching for a place where I feel safe. Fountain House is that place.”
I grew up on Long Island in what seemed to be a model family. But there was a great deal of abuse. I attempted suicide at 16. My parents yelled at me for hours before taking me to the emergency room.
In the hospital, I was diagnosed with PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. A few weeks later, I returned home, but ran away shortly after. Being homeless and completely alone felt safer than being at home.
Cut off from any sense of community, my life revolved around hospitalizations, drugs, and alcohol. It was while I was getting treated for addiction that I first heard about Fountain House.
As I walked into the house on 47th Street, I said, “WHOA!” I’d never seen anything like it. People working, supporting each other. I immediately felt like I belonged. I started working in the Education Unit. My case worker stayed on me about going back to school. I haven’t been hospitalized since joining Fountain House. Things feel possible. I have purpose.
Fountain House has given me a sense of purpose. The community helps me, and I feel good about being able to help the community.
At Fountain House, we hear stories like Cheryl’s all the time. People living with serious mental illness end up on the streets isolated— not just from services that can help them get healthy but also from a community that gives them a place to go and a sense of purpose.
Fountain House provides that place—and that purpose—for more than 1,400 members. Our members know that they always have a place to go and a place to belong. There’s no better way to help them overcome social isolation than to support Fountain House. Community is at the heart of mental health.