Who We Are
Iris Clubhouse is modeled after Clubhouse International. Clubhouse International offers a scientifically proven, widely successful approach that includes training, accreditation and quality assurance. Clubhouse International is a central resource for ensuring long-term viability of the clubhouse approach. Clubhouse International is a global advocacy network that allows local clubhouses to tap the resources of a collective force of 326 clubhouses including coordinated research and communications capabilities.
We Are Unique
What makes Iris Clubhouse different than other mental health facilities in Casper?
Mental illness touches nearly every family. Here in Casper, one in twenty-five adults (2,400) live with a significant mental illness. Many of these live life in isolation, as the effects of their illness, prompts many to experience broken familial relationships and strains in their work life.
The Iris Clubhouse provides opportunities and resources for friendship, employment, housing and education in a caring and safe environment. Our members have the opportunity for recovery and can participate as valued and respected members of society. This aligns with the mission of the Wold Foundation as we are strengthening the weakest members of Casper by building dignity through an honest day’s work.
Four years ago, two Casper moms attended a conference on Clubhouse International through the assistance of Casper’s affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They brought back their passion to start a Clubhouse in our community to help improve the lives of their adult sons and others who suffer from severe mental illness.
These moms formed a group of dedicated local mental health advocates to begin a clubhouse type project, and in 2017 Iris House, Inc. was established. We have received our 501(c)(3) designation, have a dedicated volunteer board, full support from the mental health community. That dream has become a reality with the Iris Clubhouse Pilot Project which opened its doors in November 2017. We follow the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, just as the 341 other Clubhouses throughout the world do.
The mission of Iris Clubhouse is to save lives, remove barriers and build success stories for people with mental illness. We will do this through meaningful work, employment opportunities, education and access to effective services and supports. Although we are working hard to open the doors to the entire Casper community, the support of your foundation is needed to bring this project to fruition.
The Iris Clubhouse is a program based on the International Clubhouse model that started in New York City in 1948 and currently is employed in 341 clubhouses throughout the world. A Clubhouse is a community of adults living with a severe and persistent mental illness who come together to work towards personal goals. The clubhouse is a work-oriented program that helps people to build their job skills, to regain personal worth and to rejoin our community. Through this program, these individuals can lead rich and fulfilling lives, while at the same time reducing hospitalizations, incarcerations and the need for additional social services.
As one member of a Clubhouse put it, "The Clubhouse is for the mentally ill like physical therapy is for the physically ill. It builds up self-confidence like physical therapy builds up muscles." We believe this description melds with the Wold Foundation’s value of supporting organizations involved in “building a stronger, healthier society and economic development.”
In Clubhouse, people will come together to work toward their personal goals; whether those are daily living skills, specific employment, recovery, educational, or housing issues. A clubhouse is a work-oriented program that is very different than “drop-in” or “ social” programs. The daily activities of Clubhouse are centered around a “work-ordered day” where the members learn valuable job and relationship skills. Having social events is part of the big picture, but we exist primarily to help people regain purpose and meaning in their lives through work and building relationships.
As a part of our work-ordered day, we prepare lunch daily from scratch in the Kitchen Unit. These friendships are formed when members work in pairs to peel potatoes, chop vegetables, and clean bathrooms. There is also a Clerical Unit that conducts the business of running Iris Clubhouse. Members learn computer skills, apply for jobs and educational opportunities and keep in touch with call-outs to members that have not been seen in awhile. All of the business of the clubhouse is done by the members and staff working together.
Because of the dignity and self-worth that comes from working with peers, our members are healthier. One of our active members reported an average of ten visits to the emergency room per year before joining Clubhouse. That member reports only one visit in four months and credits participating in Iris Clubhouse with the decrease.
The Clubhouse model was accepted for inclusion in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Registry of Practices and Programs (NREPP) in 2011. In a study done at Thresholds Clubhouse program in Chicago, the rehospitalization rate for the treatment group after 9 months was 14% compared to a rate of 44% for a control group that used other services (Dincin & Witheridge,1982). We expect to lower hospitalization and contacts with law enforcement for our members. Participation in Clubhouse is proven to reduce recidivism rates for mentally ill offenders (Johnson and Hickey, 1999) and improves work-readiness.
Iris Clubhouse does not focus on treatment, therapy or counseling. Rather we provide a space where peers can work together to make positive transformations and regain independence within their community. Iris Clubhouse is not a replacement for Casper's existing mental health facilities, as members are required to be referred by a physician to gain membership to the clubhouse. Iris Clubhouse does have the full support of Casper’s mental health community. It is cofounded by NAMI Casper and supported by a generous number of mental health professionals in Casper.
Iris Clubhouse has based off a unique model with a sixty-year record of success in locations all over the world. Iris Clubhouse will reduce the number of contacts with our local law enforcement, decrease incarcerations, reduce emergency room visits at Wyoming Medical Center, stays at Wyoming Behavioral Institute, and stays at the State Mental Hospital.
Seventy years ago, the first Clubhouse, New York City’s Fountain House began with the belief that individuals living with a significant mental illness can recover by creating a safe community among peers. Here in Casper, one in twenty-five adults live with a significant mental illness, touching nearly every family. Four years ago, two Casper moms brought the idea to start a Clubhouse in our community to help their adult sons and others who suffer from mental illness. That dream has become a reality with the Iris Clubhouse Pilot Project. Our mission statement is to save lives, remove barriers, and build success stories for people with mental illness. We will do this through a work based program called “a work-ordered day”, employment opportunities, education and access to effective services and supports.
Our efforts are only made possible through the generous funding we have received from members of our community, like you. We hope that you will be able to join us in supporting our endeavors by contributing to Iris Clubhouse.
The Answers You Need
How is a Clubhouse different from NAMI, WBI, and CWCC?
Iris Clubhouse does not focus on treatment, therapy or counseling. Rather it will provide a space where peers can work together to make positive transformations and regain independence within their community. Iris Clubhouse is not a replacement for these treatment facilities. Nor is it in competition with them. Rather, the Clubhouse is a compliment the recovery process for those living with significant mental illness. Members are referred to the clubhouse to gain membership by a therapist or physician. Iris Clubhouse has the support of Casper’s mental health community.
Why does Casper need Iris Clubhouse?
Statistics show that communities with Clubhouses have decreased rates of incarcerations and hospitalizations. The financial benefit to our community will be substantial. However, the greatest benefit is the quality of life increase for clubhouse members. Clubhouses transform people’s lives.
Can I become a member?
The clubhouse is available to adults suffering from severe, persistent mental illness. Ask for a referral from a mental health professional and we will schedule an orientation and visit. Then, you can see if you want to become a member.