Living in Texas is no blessing for those struggling with mental illness or substance abuse. We’re rated 49th in the nation for mental health spending, and almost all those dollars support crisis, short-term care.
The mental health system in its current form is a revolving door of stabilization and relapse because of a lack of state funding, hospitals and community based-treatment centers. Mental health providers can stabilize clients but not provide the ongoing care necessary to maintain their stability.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 22 percent of American adults—one in five—will suffer a diagnosable mental disorder in a year. This means 95,000 residents in Williamson County alone and 27,000 of those in Round Rock who need mental health services.
Round Rock now has a “clubhouse” that offers hope and opportunities to people with mental illness and substance abuse, and to their families. Pavilion is part of Clubhouse International, an organization supporting over 300 clubhouses worldwide where people with mental illness can thrive.
Pavilion can help reduce the lost wages and productivity, expensive hospitalizations, homelessness and criminal justice system involvement from people with mental illness that amounts to an estimated $240 million annual economic impact for Williamson County alone.
“We help people move from the isolating tendencies of mental illness and substance abuse into a sense of community with people who are going through things very similar to what they’re going through as well, and people who’ve been down that road before,” said Gordon Butler, executive director of Pavilion (pictured with Commissioner Cook).
The clubhouse provides structure, routine and consistency. Members engage in four stages of work development. The pre-vocational day program helps members develop behavioral and work skills that promote overall wellness and stability, while increasing confidence and stamina.
The clubhouse is designed around an eight-hour day in which members work with staff to develop work-related interests and skills, improve and expand education, return to paid work in the community, participate in meaningful social experiences, and cultivate and contribute individual talents.
In the transitional employment phase, the clubhouse partners with employers to provide members with work opportunities in the community for real pay. These positions usually last six to nine months. The next step is supported employment where the clubhouse still develops and maintains a relationship with the employer. Lastly, with independent employment the clubhouse doesn’t have a formal relationship with an employer, but assists the member with career development, job search assistance and ongoing support.
Unemployed clubhouse members often can return to work within about 60 days compared to the 700 days it takes other individuals assisted by a state agency. Pavilion additionally offers supportive services in education, life skills, housing and wellness.
Clubhouse members on average see health care costs decrease $10,000 a year. Fifty members participating in Pavilion can mean a potential savings of half a million dollars in healthcare costs to