Community mental health resource to close in Wausau

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:17 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Community Corner Clubhouse will close its doors after 26 years of helping people in the greater Wausau area with mental health issues and substance abuse.

North Central Health Care says increasing costs and a funding deficit make it impossible to keep the psychosocial resource running.

For more than a quarter century, the Community Corner Clubhouse has been a place for people to socialize with peers as well as find help with employment, housing and life skills.

“My heart goes out to the people that would not have this,” said club member Thomas Woyte.

The Community Corner Clubhouse brought Woyte out of homelessness, and helps him manage his mental health and addiction issues.

It’s not an uncommon story.

“It’s been helping my anxiety and my depression by coming here,” said club member Veronica Morse.

The clubhouse costs $260,000 dollars a year to run, $92,000 of which is funded by taxes from the county.

Because of increasingly tougher budget constraints, North Central Health Care is no longer able to pick up the slack and still run the program.

“In order to preserve our mandated programs, we’re having to make some difficult decisions about the non-mandated programs like Community Corner Clubhouse,” said North Central Health Care Interim Director Mort McBain.

Member Vicki Gauerke says it’s the one place that brought her out of isolation and gave her a community and support system.

“I walked in the doors, and I knew right away this is what I needed and what I wanted. It was good for me,” Gauerke said.

She says her family had a hard time accepting her issues until she joined.

“They saw what it’s doing for me. I’m a totally changed person. I’m no longer shy,” Gauerke said.

For other members, the people and staff at the clubhouse have become the people they spend their holidays and special occasions.

“A lot of families don’t get it, and that’s the hard part. So this is where I come, this is kind of my family,” said Clubhouse member Evelyn Olson.

Woyte says he can’t picture his life without the clubhouse. He maintains hope that this is not the end.

“Move it, that’s fine. But if they close this, there’s going to be some serious problems,” he said.

North Central Health Care has been trying to find alternative funding to keep the clubhouse doors open with no luck so far.

The three full-time employees are being offered other positions at NCHC.

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