New York City increases club services for better mental health treatment

The city says about 5,000 people in New York are served by the clubs.

The club is a mental health service that a New York City official said has been right “under our noses” for more than 75 years.

This model invites people with depression and other mental health conditions to a temporary home where they are surrounded by peers and counselors and provided with resources about the condition and their job training.

“This place is community therapy,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan told ABC News. “It serves as an anchor.”

Two weeks ago, the New York health department announced a $30 million investment in more clubs, doubling the investment from previous years.

Katherine Keyes, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told ABC News that the city’s announcement is welcome because studies not only show the clubs have been successful in not only helping patients recover but also reducing hospitalization and incarceration rates.

“It has a high potential to make a difference,” Keyes said of the city’s new funding.

According to Vasan, the first clubhouse was Fountain House in Manhattan, founded in 1948, when former patients of the mental institution decided to meet informally and discuss their condition.

Over the years, the clubhouse model became increasingly refined as psychiatrists, social workers, and mental health professionals added expertise and methods to the meetings.

Keyes said the clubhouse model is a good system for patients who need a comprehensive treatment and recovery approach.

“This club model not only allows for coordinated care courses, but also provides social determinants of mental health and a sense of being part of a community,” she said. .

Fountain House’s methods became effective and were followed by other mental health groups. Today there are 16 clubs in New York City and more than 200 across the country, Vasan said.

According to the health department, approximately 5,000 individuals are served by clubs in New York City.

Vasan added that studies have shown that clubhouses help reduce hospitalizations and detentions in their local cities.

“If a person shows signs of being in crisis, this community can help them and get above water,” he said.

The commissioner admitted that despite the benefits of the clubs, the city has not done enough to encourage growth of the model.

“It’s a stigma,” Vasan said of the city’s previous lack of support for the clubs. “It’s not just stigma at the individual level and stigma at the institutional level. We haven’t prioritized the needs of people with severe mental illness.”

However, over the past decade, Vasan said the city health department has taken a new look at mental health treatment models like clubhouses.

As part of its proposal, the health department issued a request for proposals from organizations wanting to establish clubs with a focus on “enhancing the quality of clubs, improving the member experience, staff and expanding referral pathways to support people with serious mental illness.”

The health department said it expects an additional 3,700 people to participate in club programs from the new funding.

“What are we going to build and take this model that is right in front of us and upgrade it for the future,” Vasan said.

Keyes said money is important to success in the club model because treatment requires a large amount of resources, manpower and time to be effective.

“In any type of healthcare facility, just providing facilities is not enough,” she said. You need to pay attention to all the different aspects of that community space.”

Vasan said he was confident that additional funding for clubs in the city would make a difference and hoped that other cities around the world could follow suit.

“It’s about improving the system,” Vasan said. We are turning on the taps after decades of starving the system for resources.”

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