Mott Haven clubhouse offers services, resources to New Yorkers struggling with mental illness
The Lantern House Clubhouse in Mott Haven provides employment and community support for those in need.
Kegan Palmer is one of Lantern House's 153 active members that are provided with educational and employment opportunities inside and outside of the clubhouse, as well as a sense of community. The clubhouse's goal is to help improve the quality of life for adults with mental illness.
"I was in a shelter, around violence, loud people," Palmer says. "They give me moral support, emotional support as well."
Palmer not only recently finished job training, but he's also taken up painting again, a skill that he was reintroduced to through the Goodwill-operated clubhouse. He says he feels like he can now take on the challenges of the world.
"They're coming out of the psychiatric hospitals, they're coming from homelessness, shelters, we embrace everyone. If you're in crisis, we're going to help you get to where you need to get to," says Lantern House director Elizabeth Padilla.
The Lantern House is just one of 16 clubhouses across the five boroughs open to all New Yorkers who are experiencing serious mental illness.
"We really want to reduce the amount of stigma and really let people know that there's help out there, get mental illness out of the shadows," says Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, executive deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which also oversees and partially funds the clubhouse.
The department also offers members group therapy as well as activities like cooking for fellow members and staff.
"We all eat together, we all respect each other. It feels good to get out of the house and just say good morning to people, go to work," says Lantern House member Denise Velez