Frequently Asked Questions

Can't find the answer you're looking for?

A long-term (6 months on average), rural-residential Treatment & Recovery program followed by a 12-month Transition program. Gould Farm research has shown that this Transition component is proven to dramatically improve the 18-month and 3-year post outcomes results.

Residential care, recovery-based therapeutic community, integrated mental illness and substance use treatment, skill development and graduated transition. 

Our Therapeutic Community is defined by:

  • Incorporating therapy into everyday aspects of living 
  • Integrating care supports into daily life
  • Developing life skills through a work program
  • Learning to live successfully with mental illness
  • Participating in a graduated transition to the community

Key elements include:

  1. Rural residential treatment and recovery centre for adults 18-35, with serious mental illness and often co-occurring substance use issues.
  2. Provides a range of recovery-based programs that build on participants’ strengths.
  3. Treatment is individualized with participants both working on their own unique goals and engaging in evidence based group and individual interventions provided by a multi-disciplinary team and embedded in a therapeutic milieu.
  4. Mental health and addiction issues are addressed in an integrated manner.
  5. The program focuses on assisting participants to develop the skills to recover from their illness while developing the life and work skills that ensure a successful transition back to the community.
  6. The core of day-to-day life is work in a rural outdoor setting.
  7. The program consists of three phases. Participation and completion of the assessment, program and transition phases ensures the opportunity to benefit from the breadth and depth of care.
  8. Graduated transition to the community is vital for success. Integration with existing community and hospital-based services helps to ensure realization of this vision.
  9. Family support contributes to a participant’s success. Where possible, families play a vital role as the resident moves from assessment through to transition. The family is defined broadly to include both the client’s family of origin as well as his or her non-professional support system.
  10. Eli’s Place strives to be a Centre of Excellence, where the program and its model will continually be evaluated using rigorous, scientific, evidence-based techniques.

We completed a Literature Review in June 2016:

  • We examined 33 peer-reviewed studies around the world (none were in Canada) 
  • We visited 3 US programs identified in the Review
  • We identified evidence to support the core elements of a Rural, Residential Treatment & Recovery Program
  • Conclusion: This innovative approach provides promising treatment options for young adults, with serious Mental Illness, who have not had success with traditional therapy 
  • Gould Farm – 108 years of experience
  • 15 years of Outcome Research
  • Results published in APA Journal in 2018 
  • Employment rates of Gould Farm program participants went from 14% before to 81% 18 months after participation
  • Only 5% had a re-hospitalization 36 months after participation
  • 100% were in stable housing 36 months after participation

It is an alternative to conventional inpatient treatment:

  • Longer stays in the Eli’s Place program (avg. 6 months) than the 6-8 week programs currently available. Research has shown that some individuals require longer programs to achieve successful outcomes.
  • Set in a home-like, community milieu rather than an institutional setting
  • Targeted treatment for young adults
  • Focuses on skill development
  • Focuses on Treatment & Recovery
  • Includes 12-month Transition program
  • Focus on the person and quality of life – as opposed to specific symptoms
  • Emphasis on skill-building fostering hope and self-efficacy
  • Dependent on strong therapeutic alliances and community support including family, friends, and peers

We are creating a “Centre of Excellence”

  • Evaluation will be integrated from day one
  • A Director of Research and Evaluation will take the lead
  • Research will be supported through a partnership with a University 
  • The model will continually be evaluated using rigorous, scientific, evidence-based techniques

We are currently searching for a rural property within 1½ hours of Toronto

  • 3 Residences, each accommodating 14 guests, provides us with 40 bedrooms for our guests and 2 respite beds
  • 1 Activity Centre will include a dining hall, industrial kitchen, large family room, music therapy room, art therapy room, nursing wellness office, computer lab, exercise room, library, group meeting rooms, and staff offices
  • 1 Barn for small farm animals and 1 Workshop for social enterprise activities

Additional Questions

Although there are a variety of residential treatment programs for youth, aged 12 – 18, there are no long-term rural residential treatment and recovery programs for young adults over the age of 18. Recognizing the gap, Eli’s Place decided to focus on young adults, between the ages of 18 and 35, to give these individuals a chance of developing a healthy, successful adulthood.

The application process will include the completion of formal application and an in-person interview. Applicants will have the opportunity to see Eli’s Place before they decide to be part of Eli’s Place.

Eli’s Place is building a partnership network with mental health agencies and mental health practitioners who will provide referrals.   

Referrals will also be accepted from practicing psychiatrists, family physicians, prospective guests, and their families


The program will be for young adults (18-35) who have a serious mental illness. Admission Criteria have been developed and are available if you wish further information.

A couple of months before an individual completes their stay at Eli’s Place a Transition Worker will begin working with the client to prepare them for their move back into their home community. Transition planning will include planning for housing and developing a support network in their home community. A Community Transition Worker will begin working with the guest during the discharge planning process and when they return home and maintain contact for the first year. They will assist the guest in establishing housing, support with mental health programs in the community, with employment programs and/or work, education and volunteer opportunities and family physicians. They will support the client in establishing opportunities to build friendships and support networks, and re-establish family contacts where possible. The Transition Worker will maintain contact with the client as needed throughout the first year to support the client’s successful transition back into the community.

During the transition year clients will have access to two respite beds at Eli’s Place should the need arise to return to Eli’s Place for a week or two to stabilize after a setback.

Eli’s Place aims to provide a per diem that is significantly less than similar programs available in the US which charge on average a per diem (data obtained from a Freedom of Information request to the Ministry of Health & Long Term Care). 

Our goal is to secure public funding for Eli’s Place services. Should an interim period exist prior to securing such support, we will seek to support those who cannot afford the program through fundraising efforts and a scholarship fund. 

Clients will learn life and social skills through living and working together in the therapeutic environment. In addition, clients will learn  practical skills in the work programs at Eli’s Place. They will have an opportunity to develop skills by working in the organic farm, the Christmas Tree Farm, managing beehives, working on a maple syrup program, developing and managing hiking trails, managing the physical property, gardening, and cooking in the kitchen. They will also learn social enterprise skills by developing, branding, marketing, and selling products such as jams, maple syrup, honey, and vegetables at local Farmers Markets.

Eli’s Place will have a professional staff group composed of Social Workers, a Psychologist, consulting Psychiatrist, Work Team Leaders, a Nurse Practitioner, Farmer, Music and Art Therapist, Recreational Therapist, Occupational Therapist,  Volunteer Coordinator, and Chef. There will be overnight Residence Advisors in each of the residences.

Eli’s Place will also engage a wide range of volunteers from the community.

There are 160,000 young adults with serious mental illness in Ontario with significant gaps in effective treatment options. 

Residential programs are few in number, typically limited to 6-8 weeks in duration, and are plagued with wait times nearing one year. Transition is often overlooked and clients fall through the gaps.

That nearly 40% of Ontarians with mental illness that visit an emergency room, have 3 or more visits in the year, exemplifies the inadequacy of care.

  • These young people are at risk of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, addictions, and suicide. 
  • The costs to the individual and their loved ones are devastating. Severe mental health disorders lessen life expectancy by 10 to 25 years, depending on the type, and there is no way to capture the pain incurred grappling with mental illness.


The estimated cost for Canadians for mental illness was $51 billion annually. Health care, social services, and income support costs make up the biggest proportion of these costs. It also cost businesses more than $6 billion in lost productivity from absenteeism and turnover. 

Because treatment and recovery-based programs like Eli’s Place do not exist in Canada, most Canadians have forgone effective care. That said, over a three year period, the MOHLTC spent $4,301,000 sending 50 Ontarians with serious mental illness to the USA for residential treatment at a per diem cost of CN$1200. Eli’s Place will allow more Ontarians in need to access this critical program and will do so at a considerably lower per diem.

Eli’s Place will use the Gould Farm model, a model that has proven it reduces hospital stays related to mental illness, visits to the emergency room, homelessness, incarceration, and unemployment. Specific to employment, Gould Farm showed an increase in employment rates from 12% to 81% 18 months after program participation.  

A University of Western Ontario study indicates that long-term intensive therapy for traumatized patients with personality problems reduces inpatient stays by 65%, reduces emergency visits by 45%, and increases school and work functioning by 700%.

  • 13 experienced volunteer Board members, each with distinguished careers that together provide professional expertise in the areas of legal, financial, fundraising, property management, and most notably, mental illness. 
  • A growing Professional Advisory Council made up of pre-eminent healthcare leaders and practitioners in the areas of mental illness.
  • A Peer Advisory Council made up of enthusiastic, dedicated young adults who are committed to seeing Eli’s Place meet an important gap in the mental health treatment and recovery system. 
  • Skilled volunteers on Fundraising, Communications, Finance, Governance and Model & Program Evaluation Committees. 
  • Co-founders David and Deborah Cooper, parents of Eli Cooper whose life we honour through our charity’s name. Like so many with serious mental illness, Eli ended his struggle with depression and bipolar disorder shortly before his 31st birthday. 

Join us on this important journey

Subscribe to recovery matters

Join our community of support!

Our newsletter and blogs offer consistent, original content designed to inform and educate. We explore mental health from diagnosis to treatment and resilience to recovery. Our outlook includes both a systems point of view and personal perspectives.


Join our Community

Subscribe today & get a FREE E-BOOK
Never Say Never is a collection of essays about hope, resilience and working through loss. Compiled and edited by Eli's Place Founder David L. Cooper & David Zarnett.

Subscribe to access the ebook, we will also send it in our Welcome Email!

Thank You for Subscribing!

We hope you enjoy this abbreviated digital copy of Never Say Never, Stories of Hope, Resilience & Working Through Loss

Click the button to open the Ebook – You will also find a link in our Welcome Email!