A place where people with mental illness can come to rebuild their lives as part of a community of mutual support. As one member put it, “It’s a good place to get yourself well.”
The BTH Clubhouse is the flagship of Breakthrough House programs. It is one of more than three hundred clubhouse programs operating in 24 countries around the world. The participants are called members, not patients, and the focus is on their strengths, not their illness. The environment is a welcoming one, where a member is missed when absent, and where the community pulls together for support should a member suffer a setback. Work and other activities in the clubhouse are designed to empower each member toward a more independent and enriching life on their journey with their mental illness.
The Work-Ordered Day
Members and staff together are responsible for the daily operation of the BTH Clubhouse. Work is organized into five pre-vocational units: a clerical unit, a kitchen unit, a facility maintenance unit, a vehicle maintenance unit, and a thrift shop. Members have the opportunity to work side-by-side with staff in a unit of their choosing, performing many of the same tasks they would perform in a workplace, helping one another accomplish the work necessary to keep the Clubhouse running while practicing old work skills or acquiring new ones.
Groups and Activities
In addition to work, members have the opportunity to participate in other self-help activities of their choosing, such as discussion and support groups and classes on fitness and health issues, current events, sewing and other crafts, and the management of mental illness. Social and recreational opportunities also are regularly scheduled.
Relying upon the members to participate in setting all clubhouse policies and to play an integral role in the day-to-day functions of the clubhouse helps build member self-esteem and confidence. The BTH Clubhouse is a place where people who have experienced mental illness can come to rebuild their lives by learning how to manage their illness and interact within the community.
Hours of Operation
The BTH Clubhouse is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Due to budget limitations, the Clubhouse is currently closed on Wednesdays and weekends. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, hours of operation are from noon until 2:00 p.m.
As of May 2015, members must find their own way to the BTH Clubhouse, unless they are residents of a Breakthrough Residential Services group home or apartment. Around 3:30pm on days when the Clubhouse is open, rides home are given to any member in need of that service. Members are charged 25 cents per trip, unless they live in a group home or nursing home, in which case the charge is 10 cents. There is ongoing education on bus ridership to assist those members needing more information and support in this area.
Noon meals are served each day the Clubhouse is open. There is no charge for the meal. On Mondays, the noon meal is open to the public 12 noon-1pm.
Membership in the BTH Clubhouse is free and open to anyone 18 years of age and older with a confirmed diagnosis of major mental illness. It is important that an applicant genuinely want to participate in the clubhouse program, does not have a history of violence, and does not pose a threat of violence to themselves or others. Individuals seeking membership will be asked to complete an application and sign a release of information form so a copy of their most recent psychiatric assessment and a list of their current medications can be obtained. Once an individual has been accepted for membership, they are a member for life as long as they follow Clubhouse guidelines…or until they request that they be removed from the rolls.
The BTH Clubhouse is located at 1201 Van Buren, Topeka, Kansas 66612—on the west side of Van Buren, directly across the street from the YWCA. The telephone number is (785) 232-6960.