What we need
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For the past 5 years The Secret Handshake has managed with limited support from government mental health, individual and corporate sources. We have no salaried staff. We have saved the Government of Ontario many thousands of dollars but, as an innovative service, we don't fall under any existing mandate for government funding. Once we have more fully demonstrated our worth we expect the mandate will be adjusted. So we're looking for funds to get us to that point.
The Secret Handshake, members support each other on an on-going and/or emergency basis. We also share relevant information, and help each other find suitable employment. Significantly, we save the government the substantial cost of frequent hospitalizations. We have proven that Peer Support gets real, measurable results for people with schizophrenia. Now we need to establish Peer Support on a broader basis. We have been getting by on a month-to-month basis. We have no on-going resources. The clubhouse we rent accommodates only 10 members at a time. We actually have 25 members and must rotate them into the clubhouse. We have 80 people waiting to join.
Our immediate goal is to rent a house in downtown Toronto. Eventually, we want to purchase such a house. This will be a 24-hour a day clubhouse, work and resource centre (not a residence). The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) recognizes and values our activities. They have agreeed to assist us in developing Evidence-Based-Practice reports. This should help us to provide the statistical basis for why this Peer Support program should have wider application.
The board of directors, with varied backgrounds, provides overall guidance and monitors adherance to basic business principals in the administration and running of the organization.
|Persons with schizophrenia who made an important contribution
William S. Burroughs
Singer with The Sex Pistols