I was delighted to read Sharon Salyer’s excellent article about the soon-to-come Hero House Everett (“Goal is to open doors for those recovering from mental illness,” The Herald, Dec. 1). I became familiar with the Clubhouse International Model when I lived in San Antonio, Texas, and saw over and again that patients with serious mental illness who were also San Antonio Clubhouse members regained a level of self-confidence and productivity in the community that far outstripped that of their peers who were engaged in treatment but who were not members.
While not a program of the National Institute of Mental Health as the article might imply, the Clubhouse model is recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration and an increasing body of study as an evidence-based practice. Peer driven, recovery-oriented models of psychiatric rehabilitation, such as the Clubhouse Model, are needed and expected in today’s array of supports for individuals living with mental illness. The Clubhouse Model emphasizes member choice, self-determination, community integration, equal partnerships with members and staff working side-by-side, offering hope, and helping individuals live a meaningful life. This emphasis on recovery helps to reduce emergency and hospital visits as well as involvement with the justice system and supports improved social relationships and quality of life.
Hero House Everett will be the third Clubhouse in Washington state and will be a great asset in our community’s efforts to improve the lives and create new opportunities for those who live with mental illness. We should all embrace and support this model.
Dr. Camis Milam