Multiple agencies that are part of a mental health task force met on Friday to discuss bringing a Clubhouse program to the area.
BROWNSVILLE — Multiple agencies that are part of a mental health task force met on Friday to discuss bringing a Clubhouse program to the area.
A Clubhouse is a supportive community for people with a serious mental illness. It’s a place where patients are able to obtain a stable job, learn new skills and, most importantly, feel like they belong.
Shirleen Romo has a stable job. She said less than two years ago her life was very different.
Romo was diagnosed with depression. “I have been depressed my whole life,” she said.
In 2014, Romo hit a crisis point in her life. The crisis caused her to lose her job. She faced financial woes.
“I admitted myself to the Nix hospital,” Romo said.
Romo spent more than a week in the hospital. She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, anxiety and insomnia.
As hard as the days in the hospital seemed, Romo refused to go back to reality.
“I really didn’t, really, want to leave the place, because I didn’t want to go back to the real world,” she said.
Romo said she went back to her family. She said they weren’t able to understand her illness.
“They were like, “oh, you are not depressed; you are just like lazy,’” she said. “’You need to go out and look for a job.’”
The lack of attention for patients with mental health disorders is a common problem in the Rio Grande Valley.
Rose Gomez works with troubled youth. She said they are often overlooked.
“Yes they do commit some offenses, like stealing,” Gomez said. “Drugs are prevalent, of course, but mental health is also the core issue that we deal with when it comes to juveniles. There is some underlying issues behind it, and the underlying issue is perhaps he is mentally ill of she is mentally ill.”
Shirleen Romo said she’s on a new path in life. “I am able to do what anyone can do,” she said.
Romo credits the Clubhouse program with helping her through the process.
On Friday, Cameron County leaders gave the green light to bring a Clubhouse to the area.