Members of Seacoast Pathways Clubhouse, a community organized to support individuals living with the effects of mental illness, recently gave a 90-minute virtual presentation to 27 Occupational Therapy (OT) students at the University of New Hampshire.
There is synergy between OT and the clubhouse model, said Ann Strachan, Granite Pathways Mental Health Services Director. “Both have a work focus. OT is geared towards breaking down tasks and finding ways to perform them, and the Clubhouse is a simulated work environment where members progress from basic to higher level work skills as they work towards integrated employment.”
Seacoast Pathways has hosted four interns from UNH over the past few years. The internships provide an opportunity for the students to learn directly from Clubhouse members about their experiences in the community, the stigma surrounding mental illness, and reintegration into the community after hospitalization. The students were especially interested in the aspect of the Clubhouse model that leaves the diagnosis at the door—they are treated as a person rather than a person with symptoms.
“OT therapists often work with children, and sometimes they don’t think about the mental health aspect of rehabilitation. It was eye-opening for them to consider all that is possible in this field.”
Seacoast Pathways has a few fundraisers coming up, including an online auction with an Earth Day theme. The auction takes place the week of April 18-25. For more information call Ann at 603-748-8955.