Hawaii Clubhouse Coalition Gives Others a New Start at Life

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 in Ola Lokahi

Hawaii Clubhouse CoalitionEvery day is a celebration of progress for the more than 1,300 men and women with severe and persistent mental illness who participate in Hawaii Clubhouse Coalition. The clubhouses, which are funded by the Hawaii Department of Health’s Adult Mental Health Division, are safe, cost-effective approaches to help people integrate back into the community after learning or regaining skills to reach their highest potential.

The coalition consists of 10 psychosocial rehabilitation communities, five of which are on Oahu and the other five on the neighbor islands. Each clubhouse is associated with a DOH Community Mental Health Center and collaborates with a non-profit organization.

Kathleen Rhoads Merriam, MSW, Psychosocial Service Coordinator in the Hawaii Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health, pointed out that clubhouses are based on Fountain House, a recovery model founded ex-patients of a mental health institution in New York City in the 1940s. “Every human has a desire to be wanted, needed, and expected somewhere,” she said.

Clubhouse members receive educational support that includes tutoring for a GED or assistance with enrolling in college, health and wellness programs, social and recreational opportunities and assistance with obtaining pre-vocational, vocational and ongoing employment support.

The Waipahu Aloha Clubhouse (WAC) is Hawaii’s largest clubhouse. It served more than 200 members last year. More than 40 members are in paid work opportunities and 72 members received education support. WAC has been a leader for the Clubhouses statewide in health and wellness including providing 167 members with dual recovery supports

In the 1990s Clubhouse International was started as a headquarters to coordinate Clubhouse development, training, and accredit the more than 350 Clubhouses worldwide.