43 Years Later, Bemidji’s Hope House Continues Helping Those with Mental Illness
Hope House celebrated its 43 years of providing assistance to Bemidji and Beltrami County last week. The group recently organized a 43 years – $43 – 43-hour fundraising campaign to support their efforts to provide help to adults who have long-term mental health issues.
Throughout its existence, the non-profit has been providing diagnostic tests, treatment, and a place for people with serious and persistent mental illness to go and feel safe.
“Hope House has changed over the years. When it was first established, treatment was very different for mental illnesses,” said Hope House board member Russ Lee. “Medications were not new, but they were more crude than they are today and had more serious side effects than they do today.”
Board members say that although Hope House has received numerous grants from the county to continue operating as a community resource, those finances are now running low.
“Hope House gets plenty of people who come. Our difficulty is in funding, our difficulty is affording the services, of finding enough money to pay for services,” explained Lee. “So we get a lot of income from the county, for example. Staff work with a client, they bill the county. [The] county only has so much money. And when they run out of money, which they do every year, we still have to provide those services, but now we’re providing them for no money, which isn’t quite enough to keep us going.”
The goal of Hope House is to help members of the community who struggle with mental health issues and make it possible for them to function in the world.
“There are some people who have depression for years and they need help functioning. We can’t promise to take their depression away, but we can help them function in the world,” said Lee. “And that’s what Hope House does, it takes these folks with long-term mental illnesses and works to help them function in the world, be happier people, be more contented, be more fulfilled.”
Hope House will be participating in Give to the Max Day on Thursday, Nov. 16, where they’ll be accepting donations to support the program. You can get more information on their services by visiting their website.