HERO House Programs
We are committed to the vocational and social recovery of adults with chronic mental illness. Services are offered free of charge. The cornerstone of clubhouse is the prevocational, work-ordered day. Members are encouraged to strengthen their abilities through voluntary participation in the daily tasks of the clubhouse operations. Working side-by-side with staff, members develop a sense of achievement. Participation in the work-ordered day prepares members for workforce reentry via transitional and supported employment opportunities.
Through the HERO House Career Development Center, Transitional (TE) and Supported Employment (SE) provides members a graduated approach, with steadily decreasing support that does not end until the member is successfully retained in community-based business and industry. Additional long term job retention services are always available.
Member support (entitlement/benefit management, housing and advocacy, promoting healthy lifestyles, assistance in finding quality medical, psychological, pharmacological and substance abuse services) is provided on a daily basis by staff and peers of the clubhouse. Social and recreational programming is offered on a weekly basis and HERO House is open on all major holidays. HERO House is the only provider of such comprehensive psychiatric rehabilitation services in East King County. Through open access, HERO House serves any adult diagnosed with a mental illness regardless of insurance coverage.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, we launched our HERO House Wellness Program. “People with known mental health conditions have higher background rates of cardiovascular risk factors such as smoking, inactivity, and obesity,” says Dr. Alex Mitchell of Leicester University, UK.
At the HERO House snack bar, which is operated by members, we began offering healthy snacks at lowered costs. We also facilitate 30 minute ‘Wellness Walks’ every day. During our twice daily unit meetings we discuss wellness tips to encourage healthy lifestyles. We created a ‘Wellness Board’ and corresponding binders chock-full of nutritional and health related topics, research, etc. The most innovative part of the program is our monthly ‘Healthy Hero Cooking’ demonstration where members demonstrate how to prepare a healthy meal on a budget. The Wellness Program has a huge impact on membership. The program can be summarized by the few words from HERO House members: “The Wellness Program gets us closer to recovery”, “The Wellness Program is important because you can live longer”, and “You can’t feel whole without wellness”.
Inextricably tied to the success of our Wellness Program is the need for staff, their presence and support. More importantly, we need peer-staff to ensure continuity of the program. Initially began under the supervision of a sole intern, it is realized that for stability, growth and success of the Wellness Program, a part time staff member with dedicated oversight is essential.