Williamson County’s Pavilion Clubhouse seeks to increase psychological well being companies

Executive Director Gordon Butler dreams that one day the Pavilion Clubhouse, which serves people with mental illness and / or substance abuse across Williamson County, will be open seven days a week.

Pavilion peer counselors are positioned as a support group for those released from prison or court with mental illness and / or substance use disorders.

It is Pavilion’s mission to help people through recovery and reintegrate them into the community, either through paid employment or volunteering. These services significantly reduce relapses and hospital stays.

John Hopkins University predicted that clubhouses in Texas would save the community $ 10,000 per year per member by health care costs alone, and the relapse rate for those actively involved in a clubhouse typically increased by 60% to 75% lower below 10%.

Before the courts went virtual, pavilion peer advisors were present in some of our courtrooms. If they saw potential mental illness and / or substance use in someone standing in front of a judge, they left the courtroom to meet the lawyer and / or family and offer support.

Now they are in the hearings in virtual conditions, but connecting with a person, lawyer or family is much more difficult.

Judge Donna King of the 26th District Court regularly interacts with the pavilion’s peer counselors on her mental health report while serving clients in her courtroom. She said one of the pandemic’s challenges was the inability to convene the court in person, which usually allows members of the pavilion to have face-to-face contact with court attendees.

King said, “The beauty of the pavilion attending the trial is that they can spend time with clients in court and build trust, which helps build a relationship that facilitates ongoing support outside of the court.”

Although the existing relationships were consistent, it was difficult to establish new relationships with court attendees who were not previously active with Pavilion.

King continues to encourage participation in the pavilion and even facilitate contacts.

During the pandemic, Pavilion discovered that isolation during the initial shutdown was causing depression and other problems among its members despite having Zoom meetings. After six weeks, the pavilion opened its doors again.

One of 400 clubhouses around the world and 14 in the state, Pavilion is the only Texan clubhouse that has managed to stay open and operate during the pandemic. It’s located at 3620 E. Whitestone in Cedar Park behind the family emergency room.

Linda Johnson has been a member since 2017 and led Pavilion’s outreach program. In 2019 she became Director of the Justice Program. Johnson celebrates her 30th year of sobriety in March.

One of her many goals is to create a center nearby or in the Georgetown Justice Center run by pavilion-trained colleagues to help those who leave the Justice Center or Prison and their family members have instant access to resources.

King calls prisons and prisons in the de facto mental health facilities in our state. More treatment options in the community would distract individuals from incarceration for treatment and wellbeing and increase community safety.

Ben Miller, member and vice chairman of the board of directors of Pavilion and peer in Kings Court, admits that helping the homeless is more difficult. He said people with mental illnesses in this county need help with housing and transportation, calling these two problems an ongoing battle.

Frances Musgrove, member of the pavilion who will lead the Legislative Advocacy since 2020, sees the pavilion as “a great place that is open 24/7 and has all the needs for someone to feel comfortable with and a night or two up to us Can stay can convert them into more permanent housing. “

It is important for state officials to understand the relationship between untreated mental illness and criminal justice involvement when considering funding for mental health services and facilities in Texas.

Texas Department of Health and Human Services is requesting $ 711,000,000 from the 87th Legislature for mental health restoration services that mention clubhouses.

Butler is asking that clubhouses in Texas, which are saving the state significant resources, be funded no less than $ 10 million, which is barely 1% of the health and social services biennial budget request for mental health services.

Do you or someone you know need support from the pavilion or would you like to donate? Please call Gordon Butler at 512-417-2767 or email [email protected].

Terry Cook is the County Commissioner of Precinct 1, which includes Round Rock, Brushy Creek, and Northwest Austin.

Terry Cook

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