This is the first episode of season 3 of Mental Horizons Podcast. In this episode, we learn how residential therapeutic communities may be some of the safest, most effective places for mental health recovery during this fearful time of the COVID-19 crisis and civil unrest.

Our guests are Lisanne Finston, leader of Gould Farm in MA, America’s Oldest therapeutic community for individuals recovering from mental illness, Rochelle Rothwell, leader of Rose Hill Center in MI and Eric Levine, leader of the CooperRiis Healing Community in NC.

Their nonprofit therapeutic communities are essential resources in mental health recovery, helping hundreds of individuals and families each year to achieve and sustain their highest levels of functioning and fulfillment in life.

In this episode, each leader discusses how he or she has coped with the COVID-19 crisis and about how each is now cautiously adapting their organization’s life and work to the world within which we are now re-discovering the best ways to move forward.

Disclosure: I should mention that I have had a close connection with each of these three organizations; as administrator of Gould Farm and as founding executive director of Rose Hill Center and CooperRiis. Each is a nonprofit and I have no financial connection with them. I am, however, actively referring clients to each of them in my role as a therapeutic consultant.

We have deep admiration and respect for what Lisanne, Rochelle and Eric have been accomplishing during this crisis. I know first-hand some of the challenges of their roles but I never faced what each of you has been facing during the COVID-19 crisis. We are deeply grateful for the Herculean efforts each has had to expend over these last months to keep their staff and residents safe while simultaneously helping their organization to fulfill its mission!

In this podcast you will learn how initially, Rose Hill and CooperRiis effectively closed the door, accepting no new residents for a while and focusing on internal safety, while continuing their program’s services within the ‘bubble’. Gould Farm is unique since almost all staff actually live on premises on their 600+ acres. They were able not to close the door but to carefully continue the admission process. Each program succeeded and had no cases of COVID-19. Some clients excelled in their recovery, perhaps being more able to focus within the ‘bubble’ knowing they were safe and supported from the turmoil outside.

Listen and learn how each of these leaders remained resilient during this time when hyper-vigilance was required 24/7. Learn about how they relied on senior staff teams and outside medical professionals for advice.

Each program is now moving beyond the “immediate crisis of COVID-19” into a state of “re-opening more fully with caution”. At the same time these leaders are anticipating that “regional spikes” in cases may occur in the coming months. One notes that they have to live with their finger on the ‘switch’ so that they can narrow the doors at a moment’s notice, if COVID-19 risks increase.

Learn how each leader is also envisioning a “new normal” that may arrive early in 2021. Each is thoughtful, each is still dealing with uncertainties, while certainly continuing to provide greatly needed mental health recovery services.

We know that we as a nation and as a world are facing many new uncertainties. At the same time, I know that Lisanne, Rochelle and Eric have chosen a way of life where hope is built into the fabric of their minds, spirits and hearts. Their sense of hope is required in the work that they do helping individuals with mental health challenges to discover and recover healthier lives.

We found the conversation with these three inspiring and made a donation to each of them at the end of our our podcast. We encourage each listener and reader to do the same. You can do this through their websites:,, and

You can also reach each of these leaders with your questions at these email addresses:;;

We thank not only Lisanne, Eric, and Rochelle for being with us on our podcast and also my daughter Stephanie McMahon, the creator of Mental Horizons.

Podcast Sponsor: I want to thank Larry Gentile, sponsor of this podcast. Larry has been a long time friend and advocate for quality mental health services for people who are not only coping with mental illness but also substance abuse. Thank you Larry for your sponsorship and dedication to this mission!