NonProfit

Summit County Clubhouse: Parkites Pullin’ Together

PARK CITY, Utah. — Located in what was a home on Highland Drive in the Snyderville Basin, the Summit County Clubhouse provides a safe and welcoming place for members to learn, work, and socialize in a restorative environment. Clubhouse members are adults with a diagnosis of a mental illness and the program follows a successful proven international model that creates community and changes the world of mental health.

The Summit County Clubhouse is inclusive and dynamic. It provides a space for members, volunteers, and staff to grow.

After Simone Biles left the Olympic competition in Tokyo, a local Parkite wrote this on his Facebook feed, “Big fan of Simone Biles before tonight. Bigger fan after tonight. In Park City, Parkites cheer for everyone.”

Biles wrote, “I say put mental health first. Because if you don’t, then you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to.” The Summit County Clubhouse puts mental health first by providing the stability and socialization members need.

When Biles put her mental health ahead of her sport, the community stepped up to support her.  Ted Lasso even tweeted to Biles, “Mental health is important. Like Balto in Alaska, we’re all pullin’ for you Simone.” Like Ted Lasso and Balto, Parkites are pullin’ for the members of the Summit County Clubhouse.

The Clubhouse model is international and follows the psycho-social rehabilitation model to ensure members reach their highest potential.” Their website notes, “the emergence of Clubhouses around the world demonstrates that people with mental illness can successfully participate in society through education, employment and other social activities.”

Current data shows that one in three people have suffered from a mental illness in the last year.  McKay is working to celebrate the strengths of members and support folks in Summit County. The pandemic magnified mental issues and exacerbated problems associated with isolation. The Clubhouse adapted during the pandemic. They socialized while social distancing.

In the virtual tour on the website, Austin Stanger explains the Clubhouse standards. There are now 37. The first standard is membership is voluntary and without time limits. This is essential for building community within the clubhouse.

Stanger references standard 15 and explains that the Clubhouse is a nonclinical organization that focuses on strengths, talents and abilities. Clubhouse staff is kept to a minimum making the members essential to the day-to-day management of clubhouse.

With members at the heart of the clubhouse, they meet each morning, make a healthy lunch, and take care of the details of clubhouse. Members identify and commit to completing tasks that keep the Clubhouse running. Wednesdays are for wellness and include everything from nature walks to Tai Chi to yoga.

Clubhouses are a powerful demonstration of the fact that people with mental illness can lead normal, productive lives.
Clubhouses are a powerful demonstration of the fact that people with mental illness can lead normal, productive lives. Photo: Neighbors of Park City

Stanger maintains their social media and supports the technology in the clubhouse while other members focus on building culinary skills and money management.

Amber McKay, Executive Director, appreciates the Park City community’s “pullin’ for you” approach to mental health as it aligns with the Clubhouse mission. McKay built a coalition of five clubhouses in Utah and created a social-media campaign to share success stories of resiliency.  McKay notes, “People can recover from mental illnesses, and we want to show that.”

McKay is consistently “pullin’ for” members. She is a fierce advocate for members. A primary goal for members is to find and maintain employment. To do this, McKay will join conversations with employers to provide perspective and insight that helps both the employer and the member.

Located at 6304 Highland Drive, visitors are welcome to stop by the Summit County Clubhouse. The goal is to create a community garden along with the clubhouse.

Membership at the Summit County Clubhouse is free of charge.  You may be interested in finding out more if you:

  • Are someone 18 years of age or older with a primary diagnosis of a mental illness
  • 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 Clubhouse support and community
  • 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 for your parishioners

The Summit County Clubhouse is committed to increasing education and awareness in schools and increasing services provided in Spanish.

The Clubhouse is open every holiday, including Thanksgiving and Christmas, to accommodate members who have no place to go. If you are looking for a place to give back and pay it forward, consider volunteering with the Summit County Clubhouse. With low unemployment, consider how your business could work with transitional employment for members. Focusing on the strengths ensures success for everyone involved.

Meet the members and take a virtual tour at summitcountyclubhouse.org. Then, consider how you or your business could support this new nonprofit organization.

Words by Julie Hooker for Neighbors of Park City

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