Home Away From Home

Home Away From Home

My dad encouraged me to write about a place that is very special to me. This place is called the Whale House — it is a psychosocial rehabilitation clubhouse for those with a mental illness.

I have been going to the Whale House since 2009. It took my dad a very long time to convince me to check it out, but after getting a tour of the place from my mental health worker, I decided to give it a try. That was one of the best decisions I have made in my recovery. I still remember my first day there, I was greeted by many friendly people who made me feel welcome. Right there was when seeds were planted into some great friendships that have grown over the years. I have met and made so many friends at the Whale House that have supported me, and I support them. We are all on a common ground and at different stages of our recovery, which means there is no judgement there.

The staff have always been amazing as well. I really enjoy talking and laughing with them. They have also helped me through my dark times and were a huge support. To me, they are not staff members, they are friends. The amount that they care for all of the Whale House members is incredible.

I am so grateful to have the Whale House in my life. It is my social connection to the outside world. It is open Monday to Friday. We do a lot of fun activities like bowling Tuesday nights; Wednesday afternoons we go to a mall for a couple of hours; Wednesday nights there are outings to different places like mini golf, walks on the beach and different restaurants. Thursday is when we have our sports. Right now we are in the middle of our baseball season. We have a team and we play against other clubhouses that are around. It's a great way to socialize and get exercise. All of us on
the team really enjoy playing and it brings us closer together.

The Whale House is my home away from home. I always feel welcome there and I feel great when I'm there. The members and the staff are all very special to me.

I encourage you to check out a clubhouse in your area — they are all over the place. It will change your life. It changed mine.

Ashleigh