New mental health nonprofit seeks members for the Summit County Clubhouse
Summit County Clubhouse member requirements
• Members need to be at least 18 years old
• Have a primary diagnoses of mental illness.
• No membership fee
Summit County Clubhouse should be of interest for those who:
• Know and care about someone 18 years or older with a primary diagnosis of a mental illness
• Provide mental health services and have clients who could benefit from participation
• Run a business and might be interested in a future working partnership
• Are a religious or community leader who knows the importance of improved mental health services in our community
The Summit County Clubhouse is a new resource based in Park City that assists its members, adults who have a diagnosis of mental illness, in a safe, supportive and non-judgmental space.
The facility, located at 3070 Rasmussen Road, Ste 190, opened on Aug. 5 and is part of Clubhouse International, a global organization on a mission to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.
It helps members explore education and employment opportunities, share talents and skills, volunteer and socialize, says Executive Director Amber Mackay.
“Our focus is to provide a community that will help them reach any goal they want to attain,” Mackay said. “A lot of times adults who have been diagnosed with mental illnesses had aspirations and goals before they were diagnosed, and a casualty of their illnesses could be loss of job, discontinued education and other challenges.”
Members can feel the support the first time they walk into the Clubhouse, said staff member Phyllis Sharples.
“Part of Clubhouse magic is the fact that we’re all like-minded here,” she said. “People immediately sense that everyone understands what they’ve been going through.”
Although the Summit County Health Department’s COVID-19 shutdown has slowed Clubhouse program development, Mackay wants the community to know it is ready to serve.
“We’re prepared to support anyone who needs a social connection no matter what, even without our four walls,” she said.
Mackay, Sharples and the staff were in the process of planning Clubhouse programs when the COVID-19 protocols took effect.
“Our members were already involved with work-ordered days, because they knew they were going to be involved with every aspect of keeping the Clubhouse up and running,” Sharples said. “They did all the banking, the grocery shopping and cleaning, while getting to know one another. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to focus on employment, education and housing opportunities for our members, but that will come soon.”
The Clubhouse’s focus shifted once the quarantine started, Mackay said.
“COVID is hard whether or not you have a mental illness, and the strain is compounded for those who have been diagnosed with a mental condition, especially if it concerns anxiety,” she said. “So one things we knew we couldn’t do was to tell our members that we’d be able to get to them when this is all over.”
A one of 330 Clubhouse International facilities in the world, Summit County Clubhouse looked to see what their counterparts had done and got creative in how it supported its members, Mackay said.
“We continue to call them every day to let them know we are here to support them,” she said.
The next step was to recognize members who have lost work or had been laid off, according to Mackay.
“We made sure we took them food and connected them with the Christian Center so they could get help with rent and maintain their bills,” she said.
While the calls and references helped, Mackay and Sharples wanted to do more, so they decided to host hour-long group Zoom calls at 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Club members address different topics each day, Mackay said.
“Monday is when we decide what we can still do regarding work at the clubhouse,” she said “For example we have some incredible donors who have given us money to help us through the shutdown. So we have assigned members to reach out to them and thank them and show our appreciation.”
Wednesdays are reserved for wellness sessions.
“We’ll go on a virtual walk together, or something to that nature,” Mackay said. “Right off the bat we had members asking for help with their anxiety. So one of our other members, who is good with meditation, led us in a meditation session.”
Friday’s Zoom calls are usually something light and fun,and last week all the members shared their talents, she said.
“Someone sang a song, and we had a member read some stories,” Mackay said. “We had another woman who is hard of hearing sign Whitney Houston’s ‘The Greatest Love of All’ for us. We really needed it.”
Mackay and Sharples also participated in the talent show.
“We did a little skit to honor Summit County,” Sharples said with a laugh. “We acted like we summited a mountain and sang, ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’”
The Zoom conferences and other programs offered by the Summit County Clubhouse aren’t designed as replacements for any of its members’ treatment by certified mental health providers, Sharples emphasized.
“We don’t do therapy sessions, and we do not dispense medications,” she said. “We are, instead, a partner of the treatments.”
The Clubhouse, which doesn’t require membership dues, does rely on donations to help maintain its programs, Sharples said.
Once the COVID-19 quarantine ends, Sharples and Mackay plan to host community tours of the Clubhouse.
“We are another resource to help people become the best versions of themselves,” she said. “We want to help our members become stable members of the community. We don’t like the phrase social distancing, because Clubhouses don’t do that. We physically distance, but still stay socially connected, which is important now.”
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