Working Together is based upon the Clubhouse Model which is a well-established, evidence-based program founded over 50 years ago, with affiliated programs operating around the world. It offers community rehabilitation of persons with severely disabling psychiatric illnesses and has a philosophy that given adequate time and a restorative environment, those who have been socially and vocationally disabled by mental illness can be helped to achieve or regain the confidence and skills necessary to lead vocationally productive and socially satisfying lives.
County-wide there are a significant number of clients that require a program for daily activity, life skills training, social skills training, employment readiness training, and employment with varying levels of support and transportation assistance. The Working Together program (established in September 2011) helps decrease the need for therapeutic support from individual therapists while assisting the clients to engage in meaningful activities.
Working Together clients are made to feel, on a daily basis, that their presence is expected, that they are needed and that their coming makes a difference to someone. Every function of the program is shared by the clients working side by side with staff.
The day is a “work ordered day” with each client as a wanted and needed contributor. All clerical functions, all food purchasing and food service, all tours, all maintenance, and all other functions of the group are carried out jointly by the staff and clients working together. Each client contributes according to their abilities, talents, personal choices and interests.
The four messages—membership, being expected, being wanted, and being needed—constitute the heart and centre of this program. Fundamental beliefs include:
- A belief in the potential productivity of the most severely disabled psychiatric person.
- A belief that work, especially the opportunity to aspire and achieve gainful employment, is a deeply generative and re-integrative force in the life of every human being. That work therefore must be a central ingredient of the program and must underlie, pervade and inform all activities.
- A belief that men and women need opportunities to socialize together.
- A belief that a program is incomplete if it neglects the circumstances in which its members live.