Mental health professionals push for more resources

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 --- 9:38 p.m.

More help is coming to mental health patients in Madison, in the form of funding to the Yahara House.

The Yahara House is on Madison's east side and helps hundreds of mentally ill people by offering support, care and resources.

"The clubhouse pretty much saved my life because I had mental illness for years and years and now I consider myself recovered," said clubhouse member Mark Benson.

Benson has schizophrenia, and spent years in and out of psychiatric wards of hospitals, and living off the streets. When he found Yahara House, his life changed. He found support, friends and help with getting a job.

"It's a real sense of a place to belong," said Yahara House Clinical Specialist Marsha Urbaniak.

Yahara House is part of the nationwide group, Clubhouse International, which recently received 1.5 million dollars in funding and the 2014 Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize.

While the funding comes as positive news to the Yahara House, Urbaniak feels communities today don't have enough resources for patients.

"These illnesses are devastating, the medications are expensive and access to them is difficult," she said. "There's not enough access to mental health services anywhere."

She and Benson hope more of a focus will be put nationwide on those who need help most.

"A lot is happening in the world with shootings and things like that, and they want to spend all their money on gun control and doing this and that... but there are a lot of people with mental illnesses who need resources and help," Benson said.

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