CLEVELAND — Magnolia Clubhouse is creating a sense of community to help provide healing for adults living with mental illness.
Inside a stately historic home on Magnolia Drive in Cleveland, John Salmon is getting a second chance.
“I was on medication in a psychiatric ward. I thought my life was hopeless. As a matter of fact, I thought I would never get out of that situation," said Salmon.
The former engineer, now in his sixties, found his path out at Magnolia Clubhouse.
"Magnolia Clubhouse is a club for people who live with mental illness," said Executive Director Lori D'Angelo, Ph. D.
Each day, members like Salmon work alongside mental health professionals on staff to keep every facet of the club operational.
"And through that natural method of being needed and working together, people grow and recover," said D’Angelo.
D'Angelo said only half of the people living with mental illness get treatment.
"So, people live in isolation," said D’Angelo.
When people do seek out help, it's primarily medication.
"The doctor's giving me medication, but it didn't help. I needed the involvement. I needed the social interaction," said Salmon.
For the last seven months, Salmon has been partnered up with staff member Kevin Vann.
"There's confidence, there's more hope," said Vann.
Seeing that change in Salmon since his arrival created a ripple effect of positivity.
"It just motivates me and inspires me to do my work better and also engage with the members here in our unit for sure," said Vann.
More than 400 people come through Magnolia Clubhouse every year.
"Every day is building community and recovery and mental health," said D’Angelo.
No longer the newbie, Salmon is now giving tours of the clubhouse.
"I know they're suffering inside. I see their pain. I have empathy," said Salmon.
The depression, anxiety and panic attacks that once overwhelmed Salmon are now things of the past.
“If I can help someone else coming to the clubhouse, and be happy as I am happy now, that's a great opportunity for me," said Salmon.
Salmon said he's grateful for good health, family and the Magnolia Clubhouse.
“Those are the things that are helping me to move forward in my life," said Salmon.
Magnolia Clubhouse helps members with education, job placement and housing opportunities.
Right now, there are three clubs in Ohio, with plans to expand the outreach to more communities in our state.