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Governor LePage Cuts Ribbon On New Penobscot County Clubhouse

November 2, 2012

For Immediate Release: Friday, November 2, 2012 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Communications Director (207) 287-2531

BANGOR – Flanked by members of the new Unlimited Solutions Clubhouse, Governor Paul R. LePage cut the ribbon Friday on a new resource where Penobscot County’s residents can recover from mental illness and become contributors to their communities and the workforce.

The Clubhouse, which opened on Summer Street last month and is part of Penobscot Community Health Care, joins others in Waterville, Augusta and Auburn-Lewiston in providing a supportive space for those with mental illness where employment is used as the primary rehabilitation tool through which members become engaged and recover functioning.

Over the past year, PCHC has collaborated with High Hopes in Waterville and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to bring the region its first Clubhouse.

The Clubhouse is a collaborative community where members work side-by-side staff to recover from mental illness and prepare for and be placed in meaningful employment through education, social and recreational programs, and decision-making and governance of Clubhouse operations. In all Clubhouse employment, the member is an employee of the company, earns a competitive wage and receives a pay check directly from the company.

At the grand opening, Governor LePage, who has received national recognition for his leadership and advocacy on behalf of the High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville and who hired Clubhouse members when he managed Marden’s, spoke about the important contributions those with mental illness make to Maine and its growing economy.

“I stand behind the Clubhouse 100 percent because in this model, mental illness is no longer allowed to stigmatize the lives of individuals,” said Governor LePage. “I commend the staff and supporters of this new Clubhouse for providing this resource for individuals struggling with mental illness in Penobscot County. Your work does not go unnoticed, and you are making a difference in the lives of all of the Clubhouse members and in the communities, companies and customers where they find meaningful personal and professional opportunities.”

The Unlimited Solutions Clubhouse already has attracted 31 members with 30 additional referrals currently being processed and is now accredited by the International Center for Clubhouse Development.

“The vision for the Clubhouse is clear – to provide individuals with mental illness an opportunity to stop being seen as a condition and start being seen as vital, productive, self-sufficient members of our community. With the opening of the PCHC Clubhouse, the vision is becoming the reality,” said Clubhouse Executive Director Carrie Lemos. “I am extremely excited to be able to work in this unique model and be involved in the start-up of this program as I believe it will be a valuable asset to my home community.”

For more information about the Unlimited Solutions Clubhouse, visit http://www.pchc.com/clubhouse or call (207) 404-8383.

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