A CLUB to support local people impacted by long-term mental illness is being launched today in Cairns, based on the experience and success of similar groups in 34 countries.
The Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland (MIFNQ) together with a Cairns-based committee chaired by Supreme Court Judge Justice Jim Henry, is establishing a Clubhouse based on the renowned international model.
It has the strong backing of Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch, who gained a $350,000 commitment for the centre in the 2013 Federal Election.
Clubhouses are places where people with a mental illness can meet with their peers in a structured environment that provides access to employment and pre-employment activities, improved housing access, social ventures, social activities, peer support, mentoring, life skills development and a range of self-directed activities.
International and Australian research from nearly 400 Clubhouses over more than 60 years indicates that outcomes of the Clubhouse model include reduced number of hospitalisations, increased employment, increased education levels, reduced risk of homelessness and increased social inclusion.
The Cairns Clubhouse is being established in partnership with Aftercare’s Personal Helpers and Mentors Service (PHaM’s), which has similar goals to Clubhouse but uses slightly different methods to assist people.
“The culture and daily activities of a Clubhouse and the PHaM’s Program are focused on ‘doing with’ a person, rather than the more traditional approach of ‘doing for’ or even ‘doing to’,” explained Jeremy Audas, CEO of MIFNQ.
“The focus for both services is on facilitating the development of each person’s strengths and potential through ongoing mentor, peer or ‘member’ support.
“The launch of this partnership at 208 McLeod Street, Cairns is an acknowledgement of the commitment from the Australian Government for this important addition to the support available to people in Cairns.”
Mr Entsch has been a long-time advocate for improved mental health services in Cairns and congratulated MIFNQ for their commitment to Far Northerners with mental health issues.
“I’ve worked closely with the Mental Illness Fellowship for many years and they do some fantastic, innovative work,” he said.
“That’s why I fought very hard to secure $350,000 to help establish the Clubhouse ? I know it’s going to become a valuable hub for people to meet up with others facing similar challenges and access a comprehensive support network.”