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Madi’s House: Mental Health Hangout for Young Adults

Jul 8, 2024

Julie Raleigh, Chief Executive Officer of Madi’s house said, “I can’t bring Madi back, but I can help prevent other families from having the same hole I have in my heart.” 

Madi’s House is located in Mount Airy and serves people struggling with mental illness or recovering from substance use disorder. It provides young adults with a free space to hang out and prioritize their well-being—something that is becoming exceedingly rare. They've served 10,000 young adults since opening in late 2020, and they are rapidly expanding to meet the growing need. 

The founders of Madi’s House, the Raleigh family, were compelled to create the organization in honor of their daughter and sister, Madi Raleigh. Madi, who faced the dual challenges of mental illness and substance use disorder, died by suicide in January 2019. Before she died, Madi talked about how she wished for a judgement-free safe space to hang out and heal alongside those going through similar challenges, but that no place like that existed. The Raleigh family created Madi’s House in her memory, and Madi’s spirit and positivity continues to radiate through the organization every day. 

Across the country, free spaces where individuals can simply exist without judgement are dwindling. The need for such havens is critical, especially for those recovering from mental illness and substance use disorders. Research shows the importance of “third spaces” (spaces that are not home, work, or school) on a person’s psychological well-being because they “improve one's quality of life by providing spaces where one can rest, escape from the mundane, socialize, and emotionally discharge.” Madi’s House fills this essential gap, providing a safe environment where people can relax, connect, and find solace while healing. 

Image: Julie Raleigh, CEO of Madi's House and Madi's mom (provided).

Their programming is informed by the people who come to events, just as the idea for Madi’s House came from Madi herself during her battle with substance use disorder. Raleigh said Madi used to say to her, “Mom, you don’t understand because you don’t have this disease. Seeing people that have substance use disorder together – they get it.”  

Madi had been to multiple treatment facilities, and she felt they were too formulaic and all taught the same things. “A lot of things aren’t working [with the traditional ways of recovery], so we are trying to do things in a different way. We meet everyone where they are at,” said Raleigh. 

The Raleigh Family has created a space for those recovering to thrive, where growth and community are encouraged. Madi’s House does not tell their members what they are doing wrong and how they need to be “fixed”—they are letting the members tell them what they need, and they are listening. “One member started a chess club. One member wanted recovery yoga, so now we have recovery yoga,” said Raleigh. “We listen to them. We want to create what they need…There is something for everyone at Madi’s House.”  

The most encouraging part of Madi’s House? It is working. The members of Madi’s House are thriving and finding community, as well as succeeding in their personal goals. Raleigh shared a story where a member of Madi’s House had tried to graduate from drug court multiple times but kept relapsing. He graduated in June of 2024, and he said the only reason he graduated was because of the resources at Madi’s House. 

Image: Madi's House members find community at programming and events (provided).

To see the July events calendar, click here. To learn more about how Madi’s House is a beacon for healing for those recovering from mental illness and substance use disorder and for information on how to volunteer, check out their website

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