The International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD) recently granted first-time accreditation for Traverse House Clubhouse, a program under the auspices of Northern Lakes Community Mental Health (CMH), where people who have had mental illness come to rebuild their lives.
Over 300 Clubhouses are accredited by ICCD worldwide.
“It is our understanding that we are presently the only Michigan Community Mental Health organization with two accredited programs,” according to Greg Paffhouse, Northern Lakes Chief Executive Officer. Club Cadillac was accredited in 2009.
Traverse House Director Signe Ruddy said, “Achieving ICCD Clubhouse Accreditation was a long process that my colleagues and I have shared in. It comes as result of a huge group effort. This recognition is very important to us because it means that we have clearly demonstrated our commitment to excellence. The ICCD program model has just been recognized as ‘Best Practice’ by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA).”
Member Susan said, “ICCD Accreditation is a reward for our efforts and establishes basic points and qualifications we need to meet and continue improving toward. We are a successful Club, which is why we take suggestions for our improvement and growth. This accreditation shows this and that we have come a long way.”
The process began when the Clubhouse colleagues completed a three-week training course at Gateway House in Greenville, South Carolina and Genesis Club in Worcester, Massachusetts, both ICCD training Clubhouses, in 2006, 2009, and 2011. Then the entire Clubhouse conducted a self-study review and produced a written report to submit to the ICCD. Last November, John Hayes, of Carriage House in Indiana, and Larry Marshall, of Pioneer Clubhouse in Peabody, Massachusetts, conducted a three-day site visit at Traverse House on behalf of the ICCD. Their written report of their findings was submitted to ICCD.
Member Vicki said, “Every day we were looking in the mail wanting to know the results of our ICCD consultation visit. I happened to be the one who went to pick up the mail on the day our notice arrived. I was almost wrestled down by my colleagues when I arrived back in Club and announced I had the letter. I called out for our Signe, our Director; we were all laughing at once wanting to open the letter. The long process is over. We got it!”
Like all Clubhouse programs, Traverse House focuses on people’s strengths, not their illness. Members and staff work side by side in decision-making and governance of the program. Through the activities of a work-ordered day, individual members achieve or regain the confidence and skills necessary to lead vocationally productive and socially satisfying lives. Work in the Clubhouse, whether it is clerical, reception, meal preparation or reaching out to their fellow members, provides the core healing process.
One of the most important steps members take toward greater independence is transitional employment, where they work in the community at real jobs. Members also receive support in securing safe and affordable housing, advancing their education, and obtaining good health care. Membership is for life, so members have all the time they need to secure their new life in the community. Every opportunity provided is the result of the efforts of the members and small staff, who work side by side, in a unique partnership.
“Increasing transitional employment was one of the accreditation recommendations and will be a high priority in our continuing quality improvement efforts,” said Ruddy.
Member Gary explained, “Coming to Clubhouse helps members with communication and social skills by participating in the activities that we do. The work ordered day assists members in being motivated when they work in the kitchen preparing and cooking our lunch. Doing all this helps me and my fellow colleagues. Getting our Club accredited will help us to get extra funds, which will allow us to grow. We then can offer more opportunities to those persons who might benefit from the Clubhouse program.”
Established in 1994, ICCD is a non-profit and non-governmental organization which helps communities around the world to create solutions for people with mental illness. ICCD oversees the creation and evolution of standards; facilitates and assures the quality of training, consultation, certification, research and advocacy; and provides effective communication and dissemination of research and information.
“We are extremely pleased that Traverse House has been awarded ICCD certification,” said Paffhouse. “This is a milestone achievement for members and staff.”
Becoming accredited helps ensure that our programs and services meet current state-of-the-art international standards and serves as a foundation for continual quality improvement efforts.