LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – An estimated 19 percent of adults live with mental illness in the U.S.
One international organization, Focus Clubhouse, has come to Lafayette to help those with mental illness lead stable and productive lives.
Mother and son Clarice Gallegos and Brian Boswell are finding their life’s purpose.
They’re helping those with mental illness find community by forming Focus Clubhouse in Lafayette.
“It is the goal of the Clubhouse to build them up so they can find community with pride and confidence and be apart of the community they live in,” Gallegos said.
“When you have mental health issues and you’re an alcoholic and a drug addict, it’s like twice as hard on you as a normal person,” Boswell said.
After doctors diagnosed Brian with bipolar, schizophrenia, PTSD and addiction, he needed a way to get back on his feet.
He ended up at a Focus Clubhouse in Miami and his life forever changed.
He’s been sober for five years and is now bringing Focus Clubhouse to Lafayette.
“The Clubhouse is not just about helping people with mental health, it’s about teaching them how to be independent,” Boswell said.
Focus Clubhouse is a place for anyone with mental illness to come and be a part of a community.
The day is structured around a typical workday where members learn skills for the clubhouse – including culinary and business skills – with the possibility of transitioning to the workplace.
“It’s just an opportunity for them to take pride and it build their confidence level. It builds relationships. It builds friendships with other members. Everyone likes to be around like-minded people,” Gallegos said.
The clubhouse doesn’t provide medical care, but will assist members on getting the help they may need.
Clarice and Brian say it’s a way to make sure those with mental illness feel loved, cared for and gives them a place to call home.
“Just know you’re not alone in this and there is help out there. This is a proven program that’s been around for over 70 years,” Gallegos said.
The Focus Clubhouse is located at 904 General Mouton Avenue in Lafayette. It’s open to any adult who has a mental illness diagnosis. There is an application process. You can find more information on their website.