The Coalition for Community Living Blog


The purpose of this blog is to spread the news of an incredible and under-utilized community mental health model known as the “Fairweather Lodge.”  (The “Lodge” model, sometimes known as the “Community Lodge,” is often referred to as the “Fairweather Lodge” in reference to the late George W. Bill Fairweather, who developed the model in the early 1960s.) 


The Justice of the Lodge

A post by Bruce Ario

The Justice of the Lodge


When we walk out the door of the psych ward, we face the world with a huge label: "Mental Illness." It is an invisible malady but people find out. The reactions we receive vary widely, but even the most well-intentioned are often not that helpful. We face the world, and our illness, alone.

UNLESS -- we are among the lucky few to join a Fairweather Lodge. A Lodge provides that elusive "community" that everyone talks about, but few find. A Lodge is a community of people sharing many of our same issues. Issues that can be conquered using the proven strategies of the Lodge. I will ever remain thankful to Dr. George Fairweather, who designed the first Lodge.

The Lodge, in a sense, is a system of  "justice." The best justice I have experienced in over 40 years living with my illness. The Lodge, like any system of justice, is imperfect. It doesn't work for everybody. We have to do the work to find our justice.

The beautiful thing is that it can work if we want it to. And my experience is that Lodge Members are willing to do the work. When mental illness has your back against the wall, the best possible justice is having the support of your peers, your Lodge-mates! When you are really struggling, it might seem like they are against you – but you know they are on your side. That's justice! 

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