Employment Support At Seacoast Pathways

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Seacoast Pathways, a program of Granite Pathways, is a mental health recovery peer community in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

A key standard of mental health Clubhouses operating under the leadership of Clubhouse International@ is providing support for members who want to get back to work.

A short history behind this goes back to the mental health pioneer we highlighted in an earlier article, John Beard, the first Director of Fountain House in New York City. Beard's observations and research revealed that work, occupation, employment (however you wish to call it) plays a crucial role in recovery when combined with a regimen of therapy and medication. 

Citing previous stigmatic viewpoints of people with mental health challenges from pre-1950 that labeled those afflicted as "unable" or "of little value," Beard declared war on such notions as he led members at Fountain House into a new era of inclusion. He changed the dynamic of a clubhouse from a "drop-in" center to a place that asked all members to take roles in operating the facility. No job was unimportant. Members were made to feel needed and wanted, indeed expected to pitch in whether it was mopping floors, manning a reception desk, running a meeting or preparing lunch.

Beard noticed rapid improvement of recovery in those who were made to feel valued, worthy and important through their Clubhouse work. He began to network with various employers in the greater New York City area who were willing to hire members with the support of the Clubhouse behind them.

What evolved is the unique approach to supported employment that all Clubhouses, including Seacoast Pathways, now offer to any member who seeks work with a pay check. Most people think that work is something to return to when recovery has occurred. We think Work IS recovery!

The following descriptions are taken directly from Clubhouse International's website..

As a right of membership, Clubhouses provide members with opportunities to return to paid employment in integrated work settings through both Transitional Employment and Independent Employment programs.

Transitional Employment is a highly structured program for members returning to work in local business and industry. Transitional Employment placements are at the employer’s place of business, are part-time (15-20 hours per week), and include a lot of on-the-job and off-site support from Clubhouse staff and other members. These placements generally last from six to nine months. Members can then try another placement or move on to independent employment. Transitional Employment is specifically designed as a vocational rehabilitation program where a member can gain or re-gain the skills and confidence necessary to have a job while he or she is employed in a “real world” position. The only requirement for the member to participate in Transitional Employment is the expressed desire to work.

Independent Employment is a program of the Clubhouse through which members, when ready, are broadly helped by the Clubhouse to seek and obtain a job of their own. The Clubhouse then provides ongoing support and encouragement for the members as long as they remain employed and want assistance. There is no on-site support at the place of business for members in Independent Employment; all support takes place at the Clubhouse, or in the community.

How Clubhouses Work | Clubhouse International (clubhouse-intl.org)

Seacoast Pathways is a free, voluntary, non-clinical, mental health recovery program for adults in Portsmouth, NH. For more information call 603-812-9031 or email seacoastpathways@gmail.com

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