Dunham House is a unique residential facility offering treatment for up to 28 people with mental health troubles and what is called “concurrent disorders” which can include addictions. All residents are there of their own volition and participate in a structured daily program for six months or longer. There is currently a staff of 14 including five qualified therapists who work with the residents.
While Dunham House is the only residential facility of its kind in Quebec which caters to the English-speaking population, the staff is bilingual, and there are some Francophone residents. About two-thirds of the residents are from the greater Montreal area while the others come from the Eastern Townships and other parts of Quebec.
The facility is flourishing 18 months after it opened its new residence in Dunham. The 85-acre facility straddles the Yamaska River and offers various therapeutic programs for residents. One of the most popular programs is assisted equine therapy, where people work with horses to develop self-confidence. Dunham House also has a gym, a music room, classrooms, yoga, art and a horticultural program as well as some chickens.
Dan Colson, who started Dunham House, arranged the move to its current location in March, 2016 and was recently recognized by the AMI-Quebec organization for ‘Exemplary Service in the Field of Mental Illness.’
Dunham House, a registered Canadian charity, covers the cost of most residents with some financial help from the Quebec government. Most people who come to Dunham House are referred by their doctor or their hospital although some people contact Dunham House directly after visiting their website at www.dunhamhouse.ca
“Unfortunately we are in a growth business and treating people as part of an intense program puts a strain on the staff,” says Colson. “Dunham House could certainly use more volunteers for various things, including driving residents to their medical appointments, and we believe anyone who does volunteer will find it a very rewarding experience.”