By Crissie Mergogey
Gould Farm is a non-profit organization in Massachusetts with a mission to “promote recovery for people with mental health and related challenges through meaningful work, community living, and clinical care.” The farm is an effective mental health recovery program. They accept residents struggling with a variety of conditions. These include severe depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance addictions and other mental health issues. Troubled individuals have been rebuilding themselves at Gould Farm since 1913. Farm leaders have been using the same therapeutic principles to encourage recovery since the farm opened.
Guests are welcomed into an inspiring community made up of other guests, staff and the staff’s families. Guests are given a job upon arrival that will serve the farm. Jobs include taking care of the animals, tending the crops, preparing food and running the farm’s small market. Being responsible and having physical work gives residents a purpose. Being useful in the community is a form of therapy for the guests. The goal is to use work to improve symptoms, while incorporating other healing techniques,
Residents also receive clinical care. The staff consists of licensed professionals who promote guests’ integration into the community. The supportive staff encourages their recovery through individual and group therapy. They can also provide medication if necessary. Guests can take part in other activities that rebuild mental and physical health, including hiking in the adjacent forest, yoga and meditation. Once a guest leaves the farm, they can receive support from transition services located onsite and in the Boston area. Transition homes help guests become independent before living on their own.
Gould Farm is deep in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, off the main route between Albany and Springfield. The rural setting showcases 700 acres of picturesque farmland. The view features an iconic red barn among rows of crops, tractors and green pastures. It is no wonder that the beautiful location, combined with unique therapy techniques, helps residents heal.
Gould Farm has been tracking their progress since 1998. They have measured a positive impact on mental health in most guests. Residents have proven that they can successfully transition into the local community. They are able to find paying jobs, establish social bonds, and further their education.
To stay at the farm, guests pay a fee which is determined by a sliding scale. Many guests get support from Social Security and the Veteran’s Administration benefits.
Guests benefit from activities like hiking, meditation, growing crops and caring for the animals.
Contact information for Gould Farm: Phone: (413) 528-1804
Address: 100 Gould Rd., Monterey, Massachusetts