At the Gateway clubhouse, which is the center point for all assistance and activities, participants are not called patients or clients; rather they are called members. Gateway serves more than 130 active members, with an average daily clubhouse attendance of close to 90, offering a variety of programs to help members develop social, educational and employment skills – and gain friends, opportunities and self-confidence along the way.
One of the key programs is called the Work-Ordered Day, where Gateway members use their special gifts, talents, and skills while working side-by-side with staff to help operate the clubhouse. This can lead to transitional and supported independent employment. Along with these work-focused programs, there are educational programs, housing assistance programs and social interaction opportunities all built around helping those coping with mental illness lead lives that are as independent as possible.
The Clubhouse Model and programs have been so successful, that Gateway has gained an international reputation – creating a demand for colleague training. To date, more than 2,000 colleagues from 40 states and 16 countries have been trained by Gateway in the Clubhouse Model.
“I am 32 years old. Thanks to Gateway I am now living on my own for the first time ever.”
In today’s society, an individual’s identity is often tied with the work they do. When meeting someone for the first time, you are invariably asked about your employment. For this reason, a major focus at Gateway is on returning to work. Since 1988, nearly 1500 placement opportunities have been provided to Gateway members. Gateway offers a tiered program that moves members from working within the clubhouse to transitional and supported employment, and to completely independent employment in some cases.
While mental illness often disrupts the course of formal education, it does not diminish intellectual abilities, nor does it destroy the desire to learn and understand. Still, the educational environment can be intimidating to those coping with mental illness. To help members feel comfortable attending classes at local colleges, adult education programs and career centers, Gateway offers Supported Education, working with members to secure transportation, apply for financial aid, access counseling services, and meet all admission and attendance requirements.
Realizing the need for housing for adults living with mental illness, Gateway is committed to assisting members in their search for safe, decent, and affordable housing. From supported to independent living, when the time comes for a club member to move into an apartment, Gateway assists in selecting the apartment, making deposits, obtaining furniture and food, and in making the actual move.
Social and Interpersonal Skills Development
Unlike traditional therapeutic programs, the Gateway clubhouse is open 365 days a year. Members come together for a game of basketball or softball, plan and put on parties, picnics and receptions, and travel in groups to the coast or mountains. Social activities also include a weekly movie night and holiday get-togethers.
The availability of Gateway as a training base enormously strengthens the ability of mental health professionals to respond to the rising tide of worldwide interest in learning how to implement the clubhouse model. Besides a guesthouse located across the street from the clubhouse, Greenville, South Carolina provides an ideal setting for visiting colleagues. There are dozens of great restaurants, unique shops, a park, zoo and river walk, plus plenty of lodging options around and within a beautiful downtown that is less than two miles away.
Additional Mental Health Informational and Assistance Resources
Additional information about mental illness, the Clubhouse Model and groups that can provide help to people suffering from mental illness can be obtained through: