Chobee Clubhouse aims to reduce stigma around mental illness


Chobee Clubhouse's ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1. [Photo courtesy of Chobee Clubhouse/Lake Okeechobee News]
Chobee Clubhouse's ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1. [Photo courtesy of Chobee Clubhouse/Lake Okeechobee News]

OKEECHOBEE- Chobee Clubhouse held a ribbon cutting on June 1 to celebrate their grand opening. The clubhouse is associated with the Mental Health Association in Indian River County (MHA) and is dedicated to the recovery of people who struggle with mental illness.

The clubhouse provides members the opportunity to participate in community reintegration, education, training, and gainful employment. The ultimate goal is for clubhouse members to achieve self-recovery by contributing their skills and talents in a community of mutual support.

According to National Institute on Mental Health, nearly 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness. A mental illness that interferes with a person’s life and ability to function is called a Serious Mental Illness, which can include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.

In the United States, adults with mental illness have an unemployment rate of 80% according to  the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Chobee Clubhouse hopes to be able to take people battling mental illness, and help them develop a routine in their day-to-day life. Ultimately allowing them to eventually reenter the workforce.

The clubhouse, located at 1105 N Parrott Ave in Okeechobee, is newly renovated with plenty of natural light and open spaces. It includes a kitchen, a computer lab, and plenty of space for a variety of activities, provides opportunities for individuals to learn new skills and socialize with others.

Prospective members must be referred by a licensed clinician or psychiatrist. Once accepted, they will go through a full orientation and learn was is involved in a structured system known as the “workordered day.”

In a work-ordered day, members learn teamwork and develop interpersonal skills, such as job interviewing, communication, and problem-solving.

“I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to be  a part of this new clubhouse in Okeechobee,” said Stephanie Busbin, manager of Chobee Clubhouse. “The support I have received from MHA has given me the  confidence, encouragement, and resources to successfully embark on this new endeavor.”

Busbin will be assisted at the clubhouse by  Brittani Joiner.

“To be able to  help better lives of people struggling with mental health is very exciting and rewarding,” continued Busbin. “I can’t wait to  see the Chobee Clubhouse grow.”

Chobee Clubhouse, Mental Health Association in Indian River County