Photo by Chung Chow
Life can be going along, not great but going along, then the hood of depression is slipped over your head and everything goes kerflooey.
This is a reality Mike Tibbles knows only too well.
Tibbles worked in Human Resources for a large national firm.
“I loved the work and I loved working with people. I was managing, without being involved in the mental health system. Then I got sick in 2011 and couldn’t work any more.”
After two years in and out of hospital getting the treatment he needed, Tibbles looked for a way to maintain his mental health.
“I got involved in Pathways Clubhouse and that has been my life line.”
Technically put, this award-winning centre offers psychosocial rehab in a non-clinical setting. But in human terms, Barbara Fee public education program manager, says: “The clubhouse helps people on the road to recovery to regain their life, help them find a home, help them find a job, help them find some friends, a new family for some, a social life, safety, and new opportunities in life.”
It solidifies their mental health recovery.
Affiliated with Clubhouse International, an international network of 300 community-based centres with the motto of “Creating Community: Changing the World of Mental Health”, Richmond’s Pathways Clubhouse is on the move.
“The current facility is leased,” Fee says. “It used to be a lighting warehouse so we’ve kind of had to work to make it work for a clubhouse.”
And the lease is up.
But come fall, they move into their new digs on Granville Avenue.
“It will be ours. Pathway’s will own this space. It will give us more security, long term, in a purpose-built facility.”
It will still be open 365 days a year and the new clubhouse will offer the all the same programs.
“We have social programs Monday and Wednesday evenings and on the weekends.”
Mondays and Fridays,” Tibbles says, “on what would be a work day for people, there is a ‘work order’ day. It’s similar to a day in a paid work place so there is a value and a purpose.”
Fee adds: “It’s all real work. That’s why the clubhouse is deliberately understaffed so there are real jobs for the members to do.”
Tibbles puts it simply: “For me, it gets me out of bed.”
In addition to hot meals, Pathways offers programs for a variety of ages.
For instance, their young adult program hopes to, in Fee’s words, “entice them to their own generational space with equipment for video making for posting on social media.”
Fee says Pathways fills a gap.
“We know that when people age out of the clinical and community supports for youth, there can be a bit of challenge getting them into the adult system.”
Pathways allows people to grow and to give, not just get, support and Tibbles is a prime example.
“Because of Mike, our young adults have just started a newscast program within the clubhouse,” says Fee.
For their efforts, Pathways Clubhouse won a Top 10 Charities in Canada award from Charities International. Groups are judged on their societal return on investment.
They may be moving into a nicer facility in the fall but whether it’s in the new or the old clubhouse says Tibbles: “Pathways touches us, encourages us, gives us hope.”