Hedwig House began its existence on October 1, 1975, with the guidance, support and direction of three women with a commitment to bring service to people with mental illness and a sincere and abiding interest in their quality of life and recovery: Lois Jahsmann, Patricia Kind, and Naomi Dank. Based on Lois’ experience with a program in England called Places for People, the original program focused on the housing needs of persons with mental illness in Norristown, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. It has since evolved into a comprehensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation program offering Housing Support, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Clubhouse services throughout Montgomery County. Throughout its evolution, Hedwig House has followed the philosophical example and has borrowed heavily from the model of the Fountain House program developed in the 1940's in New York City. Hedwig House is named for Hedwig Van Amerigen. The Van Amerigen family has been an advocate and supporter of Fountain House, and Hedwig was the mother of Patricia Kind, a founder, advocate and supporter of our program.
While initially a component of the Central Montgomery County Mental Health / Mental Retardation Center, a separate Board of Directors under the name of Hedwig House, Inc. was formed in 1976. The new organization contracted with the Montgomery County Office of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, Drug and Alcohol, and Behavioral Health to provide services to mental health consumers. This proactive and creative action introduced a Recovery-focused rehabilitation service which complimented community treatment services and, at the time, had only a few counterparts throughout Pennsylvania or the nation. In retrospect, it was the precursor of the broad Psychiatric Rehabilitation initiative currently being introduced statewide throughout Pennsylvania.
“Bringing a service to people with mental illness and a sincere and abiding interest in their quality of life and recovery”-- Hedwig House Founder Lois Jahsmann