“Gould Farm is a unique and pioneering refuge for people with mental disorders…a place where respect and relationship, work and friends, are central to the healing process. We need many more such places in the world.”
Dr. Oliver Sacks
What We Do
Founded in 1913, Gould Farm is the first residential community in the nation dedicated to helping adults with mental health challenges move toward recovery, health, and greater independence through community living, meaningful work, and clinical support. Within this safe, family-like community made up of guests, staff, families and volunteers, all members are accepted, respected and celebrated as individuals.
We work with adults who are living with mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar and schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia. Gould Farm provides a safe environment in which everyone feels accepted and trusted while also being held to high expectations as a productive, working member of the community. Guests are empowered to share their many talents with the community and are also given the opportunity to learn and practice new skills in a supported environment.
Guests work with the clinical team to optimize their medications, build compensatory strategies to manage the symptoms of their illness, and create resiliency in work and social contexts. Through a stepped progression, symptoms improve, real-life skills are learned, and a sense of worth and hope is recovered that allows the individual to build the strength and confidence to move towards greater independence and recovery.
Gould Farm offers a continuum of services including supported transition to more independence, including an extended community in both the Berkshires and the Boston area.
Will and Agnes Gould established Gould Farm in 1913 as a healing community in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. They welcomed guests who were experiencing emotional and psychiatric vulnerabilities to join them, working on the farm and sharing the joys and challenges of daily life in a kind, healthy community.
Soon social service agencies in Boston and New York were referring people to Gould Farm for treatment. Will was quoted in an article about the Farm that appeared in The New York Times in 1921: “Too often had the mistake been made of taking people out to the country and leaving them there in the hope that just the change of environment would work a miraculous cure. What people needed, especially people who were unhappy and depressed, was to have the country interpreted to them by showing them where they fitted into the scheme of things.” He wanted to help people find their place of belonging and to bring back the desire of living and working to people who had lost it. (Gould Farm: A Life of Sharing, William J. McKee, 1994)
As the years have passed, life on the farm has stayed true to its roots, even as the farm’s social mission has become more refined. Services today target those with a serious mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar and depression. Our program is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. In addition, our work program has grown to include social enterprises such as the Harvest Barn Bakery and the Roadside Café. Our 700 acres have been designated as a Model Forest by the Forest Guild, recognizing our commitment to sustainable forest and land management practices.
Today, Gould Farm is recognized as a model treatment program that has been replicated in the United States and influenced programs in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, and Australia to name a few.
Even as things have changed over time, some things remain the same today as 100 years ago: animals are tended and cared for, food is grown and shared, people live together in a caring, supportive community. And hope and recovery are the daily harvest at Gould Farm.