Midtown Raleigh News

April 14, 2014

Club Horizon seeks city aid for mental health services

Wake County’s only mental health clubhouse wants Raleigh’s help moving to the city from its current location in Knightdale.

Wake County’s only mental health clubhouse wants Raleigh’s help moving to the city from its current location in Knightdale.

Leaders of Club Horizon, which helps people with mental illness develop social skills and return to the workplace, came to the Raleigh City Council this month to request $100,000 in funding for the move.

“Please help us to move to Raleigh where the transportation is more accessible and where we can also reach the Latino population,” said Club Horizon member Maribel Rivera.

As the nonprofit nears its 10-year anniversary, it remains tucked away in a small building on Knightdale’s main road. The site isn’t on any bus lines, and the dining area is up a steep flight of stairs.

Director Karen Galley said the organization can serve more people from a central location in Raleigh. “I think it’s time to take this program to the next level,” he said.

Galley is eyeing Southeast Raleigh, where mental health services are hard to come by. She said she’s also gotten support from Cary leaders who’d like to see Club Horizon move there, but she says the town is too far for many of those served by the organization.

Club Horizon is hunting for a 4,000-square-foot building that offers open rooms, a large kitchen space and offices. The $100,000 the nonprofit requested from city government would cover the higher rents of Raleigh, $40,000 to retrofit the new space and $20,000 to offer transportation in North and West Raleigh.

Club Horizon’s model offers more than the traditional drop-in center for mental health patients. The people it serves are called “members” because they help run the organization – from preparing lunches to assisting with paperwork.

The nonprofit helps its members get back on their feet after psychiatric treatment by giving them the structure of a traditional work day and helping them access educational resources and find job placements. A van driver offers transportation.

Annie McGehee has been coming to Club Horizon for five years, and she said it’s helped her escape the depths of depression. “It’s taken me out of depression – I’m active socially, I get up and come here every day,” she said.

McGehee said her peers at Club Horizon are “like a family.” The organization is the only one of its kind in Wake County, and the only one in the state that works with deaf people who suffer from mental illness.

Galley hopes a move to Raleigh would help position Club Horizon to expand more, possibly adding locations in underserved areas like Johnston County. But additional funding is needed to make the move because the program is largely funded by Medicaid, which covers only its basic expenses.

So far, Galley said she hasn’t gotten a response from the Raleigh City Council. The city does not provide mental health services but does offer annual grants to human services organizations.

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