We need a Clubhouse in our community!
Sometimes a solution is given that goes unnoticed until it is discovered by the media. One such solution is the “clubhouse model” of mental illness rehabilitation, of which Fountain House is an example. These organizations are local community centers that support people with mental illness in a variety of ways, including help in finding mental health treatment, safe and affordable housing, employment and socialization.
Fountain House members are free to come and go as they wish. They are evaluated and prescribed medications when needed. They can work in the kitchen or horticulture department, create artwork to be sold in the Fountain House gallery and get help going back to school or finding a job. Most of all, they have a place to go that’s safe, where they have friends and community.
The clubhouse model is far more cost-effective than a psychiatric hospital.
For example, New Yorkers with mental illness have an average of a 50 percent rehospitalization rate, which costs $28,000 for a two-week stay in a psychiatric facility. Members of Fountain House have a rehospitalization rate of just 10 percent. And for about the same cost as that two-week hospital stay, the program — which is free to members — provides one year of housing, community support services, employment, as well as educational and social opportunities. Fountain House covers these costs through public funding and private donations. With members working and paying taxes, they are not draining public funds, Fountain House says.
Joel Corcoran, executive director of Clubhouse International, a nonprofit that helps people launch and grow clubhouses around the world, attended the Fountain House event and facilitated a small-group discussion afterward. He said clubhouse programs work because they provide a much-needed community to their members.
“People need a safe place, a feeling of being needed and wanted, something to do on a Friday night — and someone to do it with,” he said.
The model has taken off. Since Clubhouse International spun off from Fountain House in 1977, it has helped start about 300 clubhouses in more than 30 countries.
This is not to say we don’t need psychiatric hospitals. There will always be a need for the most severe forms of mental illness that requires intensive treatment. But for many a Clubhouse solution is all that’s necessary to get them on the road to recovery.
The basis of this post came from an article published on nextavenue.org. The entire article can be found at https://www.nextavenue.org/should-bring-back-public-psychiatric-hospitals/