By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN— ACCESS reopened its Hope House Clubhouse, for the first time since 2013 with a celebration Oct. 21.
First opened in 2007, the clubhouse provides a place for adults with a history of mental illness to reach their vocational and educational goals by connecting them with local opportunities.
“Hope House closed in 2013 due to low membership and hefty operation costs,” said Mona Makki, Director of ACCESS Community Health and Research Center. “We wanted to reopen the clubhouse to show the community we are serious about addressing mental illness.”
The 8,000-square-foot clubhouse is at 6470 Williamson and includes a newly planted garden, computers, library, recreational activities and English as a second-language classes.
The garden was planted this summer so members could use produce grown to prepare their daily lunches from scratch.
“I am thankful for the community who took time to attend the grand reopening,” Hope House Supervisor Sandra Amen-Bryan said. “It was important to reopen the clubhouse to show that we are here to support anyone with a mental illness.”
Members must be 18 years of age or older and have a history of significant mental illness to join. They also must provide a referral that clearly states their desired goals to be accomplished, accompanied by a psychiatric evaluation and an Individual Plan of Service.
Martin Alward, psychosocial specialist for the state of Michigan, stressed the importance of having the clubhouse open again.
“I had a brother who suffered from a mental illness,” he said. “If he had a place like this to go to, I believe he would still be alive today.”
Participation in the clubhouse is inclusive, voluntary and without time limits. It is open to anyone with a history of mental illness.
The program is flexible with no contracts, schedules, rules to force participation. Members also have the option of re-entering the clubhouse if they were to exit for any reason.
Those interested in joining the clubhouse must show a desire to learn social skills, enhancing the quality of their relationships and learning vocational skills.
“We are happy to provide a home for adults with mental illness,” ACCESS Executive Director Hassan Jaber said. “The community needs a place like this so they know someone is here to help.”
The reopening made the clubhouse the 37th of its kind in the country.
For more information on the ACCESS Hope House Clubhouse call 313-633-1361.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)