We are a group of family members with loved ones who have experienced Mental Illness. Through our involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, we learned more about Mental Illness and came to the conclusion that a personalized approach to care in a community based setting was a largely effective way to help one achieve their recovery. We believe that those living with Mental Illnesses can and should have the opportunity to reach their full potential in a friendly, inviting and productive environment.
We learned about Clubhouse International and their model of psychiatric recovery called the Clubhouse Model. To date, there are over 300 Clubhouses in thirty four different countries. In 2018 twelve of us, visited Gateway House in Greenville, SC. We observed nearly 100 members working side by side with the staff in what is called the "work-ordered-day." We participated in a beehive of activities and in doing so, observed their enthusiasm and self confidence, in what one of our group members called "miraculous".
From that point forward, we were determined to create the first standards based Clubhouse in Atlanta. After training at Gateway House, we incorporated, were approved as a nonprofit and began the process of telling our story, seeking support, raising money and finding our Clubhouse location. These tasks have led to numerous meetings, encouragement, discouragement and finally securing the support needed to move forward. We are thrilled to have established a wonderful relationship with St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, our new home. We are equally excited to have engaged Freddy Morello, who has extensive Clubhouse International experience, as our founding Executive Director.
Today, we have a dedicated Board of Directors, a group of valuable advisers and many supporters. In this time when COVID-19 has added to mental health challenges, we have the opportunity to make a contribution and hopefully set an example for others.