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 improve each member’s quality of life by providing organized weekday daytime and evening support.
The ICCD Clubhouse Standards
The International Standards for Clubhouse Programs provide the operating principles for the clubhouse model of rehabilitation. These standards are agreed upon by consensus of the worldwide Clubhouse community and are reviewed and updated, as needed, every two years.
The Work-Ordered Day
In accordance with the ICCD Standards, 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, including dances, picnics, birthday celebrations, field trips, art groups, movie groups, library visits, videos, music, shopping, ping pong, and bowling.
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 8:00 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. On holidays, hours of operation are from Noon until 4:00 p.m.
Transportation and Meals
Rides to and from the BTH Clubhouse are available to members living within the city limits on days when the clubhouse is open. 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. Noon and evening meals are served each weekday. The cost is 50 cents per meal (25 cents for members living in a group home or nursing home). Members may purchase monthly meal cards that provide 20 meals at a cost of $10, or a cost of $5.00 if the member lives in a group home or nursing home.
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 and that they not pose a risk 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…or until they request that they be removed from the rolls.
The BTH Clubhouse is located at 1201 Van Buren, Topeka, Kansas 616612—on the west side of Van Buren, directly across the street from the YWCA. The telephone number is (785) 232-6960.