A big win for the Summit County Clubhouse

A big win for the Summit County Clubhouse

The Summit County Clubhouse has found a new home!

The Clubhouse was created to provide an inclusive community where adults living with mental illness can achieve their highest potential and they recently received the news they have been approved for their Conditional Use Permit by the Snyderville Basin Planning Commission. This permit allows for the donor purchase of 6304 Highland Drive in Park City to become their long-term home.

Clubhouse: Making an Impact

CONNECT Summit County’s Impact Director Wendy O’Leary is a long-time professional mental health advocate and has a family member who has personally benefited from a Clubhouse in another location. She says what has been hands down the most difficult resource to link these families and individuals to has been the support of their community. “These families and individuals are often alone on their journey through mental illness – trying to work jobs, take care of themselves and their relationships, their homes, pets, elderly relatives and other family members who do not have a mental illness, while trying to be the sole companion and friend of the family member with a serious mental illness – because there is no place for them in their own community. No place for them to develop friendships, discover innate abilities and talents, develop work skills and pursue vocational interests. No place where they can learn how to contribute to their community in meaningful ways.”

When she discovered the Clubhouses in Salt Lake City and Toole, she immediately and intuitively knew this was a place where individuals with serious mental illness could go and find a sense of community and belonging. “I started referring young adults to the Clubhouses and almost without exception they thrived. They found a community of mutual support as they each developed their own unique recovery path – their unique way of reintegrating into their larger communities as healthy productive contributing members of society,” she says.

Wendy watched her loved one with serious mental illness be excluded by well-meaning relatives, friends, neighbors and the community at large and with very little support so she moved to another state to obtain better treatment and services for him.  He was referred to a Clubhouse and he began having a place to go all day while his family members were at work and school…he had a place where he belonged. He was able to hone and utilize his social media and graphic design skills as part of their media team – producing a newsletter, monthly calendar and posting on social media for the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse provided him with a safe place to go, a sense of belonging and community at a very critical juncture in his life.

According to the Summit County Health Department’s Director of Behavioral Health Aaron Newman, the approval of the Summit County Clubhouse’s Conditional Use Permit is an amazing milestone for behavioral health in Summit County.

Wendy adds that mental health treatment is way more than medication and a weekly therapy appointment–it includes all aspects of a person’s life. “We need access to a place that nurtures these other vital elements of recovery from mental illness,” she says. “Clubhouse isn’t a mental health treatment facility and its members are not identified by their diagnosis but rather their humanity, their individual qualities and talents and how to integrate their unique gifts within the community and that helps to remove the negative perceptions (stigma) about people with mental illness broadly in the community.”

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