Welcome to the first post of the Shore House blog! Shore House is a non-profit organization where we fight stigma pertaining to mental illness. We help educate the public about people who live with mental illness and dispel the myths that are portrayed by Hollywood and the media.
We realize that not everyone knows the history of the Clubhouse movement, so here it is, in a nutshell: There were six men who came from a state hospital in New York. They wanted to help each other stay out of the system and prevent being re-hospitalized. They started by meeting on the steps of the NYC Public Library. They wanted to build a community of like-minded people who wanted to help each other out. At the time Fountain House was established in 1948, many of the authorities in the mental health system said the idea wouldn’t last. Sixty-seven years later the Clubhouse Model has survived the test of time and has been replicated over 350 times around the world.
There are nearly 200 Clubhouses in North America, but Shore House is the currently the only Clubhouse in New Jersey. We were founded in November 2011 by New Jersey resident Susan Sandlass, who was inspired by Fountain House but wanted a resource closer to home for adults living with mental illness. Shore House has been trained by Clubhouse International and is working toward its accreditation. We hope to pave the way for the Clubhouse model to make a foothold in the State of New Jersey. What draws people to the Clubhouse model? The fact that there is not one leader, but an environment in which everyone can lead. Participants are known as “members,” rather than “clients” or “patients,” and we work as equals with staff and interns. In fact, it is often stated that, in a Clubhouse, it is about the process, not the product. What this means is that, even though one person might be able to produce this blog post unassisted in fifteen minutes, it is more valuable in a Clubhouse to bond and share skills, even if a collaboration takes more time and yields a post that is slightly less perfect. The post you’re reading is the product of several people’s input, but we never forgot the process.
Our first home: The Womans Club of Red Bank
Clubhouse - from Members’ perspectives:
It is a place to go where we find meaningful work.
To find meaningful friendships and not be isolated.
To feel like people and not our illnesses.
To help integrate us back into the community by finding work or schooling opportunities.