As summer heats up, our local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Douglas County Affiliate is hard at work on a project that has the potential to change the face of mental illness in our county. The project? We will open a Clubhouse (Clubhouse International) in Roseburg on or around October 1.

In May, I considered how valuable it is for human beings to have a place to socialize and be accepted. We humans are social creatures. Yet, when a serious mental illness or brain disorder strikes, the person we once knew may disappear. The person who remains may seem a stranger in his or her own skin. Many such folks never re-enter society.

As one begins to manage the illness medically, how does she re-enter the world where she had self-respect and the respect of others? A place where she knows who she is and what she is capable of?

When people in a community work and socialize happily together, this kind of recovery can happen. Without a doubt, not only will their recovery benefit the individual; the community will benefit too.

Our Chadwick Clubhouse, as the Clubhouse in Roseburg is called, has a mission. Our mission is: to foster a community which rebuilds lives and hope through purposeful opportunities for adults living with mental illness.

The community of Chadwick Clubhouse is an evidence-based, non-clinical, mental health program in Roseburg. Chadwick Clubhouse will be made up of members, who are referred to Chadwick Clubhouse by their clinicians.

Member’s rights are very important. Every member has the right to a place to come, the right to meaningful relationships, the right to meaningful work, and the right to have a place to return to. Chadwick Clubhouse will provide a work-ordered day for its members. Members and staff work side by side as colleagues to accomplish the work of Chadwick Clubhouse.

Chadwick Clubhouse will have enough staff to engage the membership, but few enough staff to make accomplishing the work impossible without membership involvement. All work in Chadwick Clubhouse is designed to help members regain self-worth, purpose and confidence.

When a member is ready, there are opportunities for supported employment in the community. After 6 months of supported employment the member may choose to go onto a permanent job placement, training or school.

Since 88 percent of folks with a mental illness are unemployed, and 60 percent of those folks report they would like to be employed, the outcomes achieved by Clubhouse are significant!

Besides building social skills, and giving a sense of purposefulness as well as job placement, there are many other benefits a Clubhouse offers its members. Some of them are reduced contact with the criminal justice system, reduced incarcerations, reduced emergency room visits, increased outreach (home and hospital visits), help finding housing, wellness and nutrition activities, education, links to dental and health care, links to colleges and universities, transitional housing, and much more!

Worldwide, 450 million people have some form of mental illness. By 2030, it is predicted the world will spend 6 trillion per year on mental illness, more than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Clubhouse saves money! It’s been found that for every one dollar spent on Clubhouse, $12 is saved by the community.

Currently, there are two accredited Clubhouses operating in Oregon. One is located in Portland, the second in Medford. Chadwick Clubhouse plans to work toward the goal of becoming the third.

Our Douglas County NAMI has been in serious communication with Compass House, the Clubhouse located in Medford. Compass House has been serving the Medford population since 2014. In that time, the Medford Compass House has grown from zero to 615 members. In 2017, it had 8,097 total member visits, which equaled 29,440 service hours provided. Also in 2017, Compass House assisted 43 people to paid employment.

Medford is a significantly larger community than Roseburg. That said, we are banking, with community support, on achieving such impressive results in Roseburg.

If you would like to learn more about Chadwick Clubhouse, to volunteer, or if you are someone who suffers from a mental illness or has a family member or friend who suffers, please join us for our monthly information and support group.

We meet the first Monday of every month at the Vine Street Baptist Church at 2152 NE Vine St. in Roseburg, at 6 p.m.

Our next meeting is on Monday, Sept. 3 (Labor Day).

Dorothy Moll is a member of the Douglas County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She can be reached at dmoll1922@gmail.com.

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