Moms on agenda in Saanich

Clubhouse program re-integrates people with mental health issues

  • Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 p.m.

Jackie Powell of Oak Bay is part of Moms Like Us, a group of residents from across the region with a focus to establish a Clubhouse International in Greater Victoria.

She’s seen first hand what is necessary to re-establish a social network for someone who has suffered mental health issues.

Saanich council has invited Moms Like Us to speak as a delegation later this summer.   Saanich is one of the remaining municipalities Moms Like Us has yet to approach as it seeks to add another endorsement to the many it has collected from Sidney to Colwood, as well as from the mayor of Oak Bay and the regional police chiefs.

“Clubhouse International is a holistic program which features everything people with mental health issues need: employment, housing, education, and most importantly, it’s about community and getting people connected back into life.”

When Powell’s son was ill he lost connections with everyone – friends, school, there was no outside contact except for his parents.

“If we weren’t around, what would he have had? He had two months in the hospital and no one else visited.”

Richmond’s Pathways Clubhouse is the nearest example of a Clubhouse International, and it’s a shining model, Powell said, with subsidized apartments for housing and a successful transitional employment program.

“This is something we need, it catches people before they go too far downstream and gives people a chance when they’re [right] out of hospital,” Powell said. “It’s the sense of community that people need. Social connections are crucial but they disappear when you suffer mental illness. Friends disappear faster than you can shake a stick at.”

Funding for the Richmond Clubhouse’s operating budget mostly comes from the provincial government as well as from donations and local business support.