Prelude Clubhouse is a psychiatric rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness.

When Christina Judge’s daughter was a toddler, Judge knew things weren’t quite right. But she couldn’t put a finger on what. It wasn’t until her daughter was 11 that her bipolar disorder presented itself, leading to years of mental anguish. 

But years and years of trying out different resources led Judge’s daughter to be where she is today. “She’s stable, taking her medications, working a full-time job and living independently,” Judge said.

And Judge’s daughter brought Judge to where she is today — vice president of Prelude Clubhouse, a psychiatric rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness. Now, she and others at the clubhouse help Collin County adults with severe mental illness find their purpose in life. 

Since May is mental health awareness month, it’s important to highlight resources available for the 6.5 million Texans who have a mental illness and would benefit from treatment, according to Mental Health America of Greater Dallas

“We’re there for you,” Judge said. “We’re there to help you transition out of this very strange situation that we’ve all found ourselves in.”

Prelude Clubhouse in Plano is a psychiatric rehabilitation program for adults with mental illness. | Courtesy of Prelude Clubhouse’s website.

Prelude Clubhouse in Plano

Often, the hardest part of mental illness recovery is maintaining it. But keeping that recovered status is precisely what Prelude Clubhouse does. 

Located at 1905 E. Parker Road in Plano, the clubhouse is a daytime program for adults diagnosed with a severe mental illness who are in recovery. Judge said they have members as young as 18 and as old as 73. The clubhouse is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and members participate in a “work-order day,” exposing them to socialization and giving them thoughtful work to help them transition back to employment and life itself.

Judge said a typical day at the clubhouse begins with a morning meeting run by one of the clubhouse members. An assignment board is present for members to sign up for the type of work they want to do. The clerical unit, Judge said, is the most popular one. Job assignments in the clerical unit consist of things like writing and gathering information online. Members of the kitchen unit make lunch every day for members, which only costs each member $1.50 to help cover costs. 

But Prelude Clubhouse also partners with employers for its transitional employment program. This way, those who want to start transitioning back into the workforce can begin with a part-time job.

Once someone signs up for the Clubhouse, they become members for life, Judge said. And that’s something the members take seriously. 

“Everyone there, you know, watches out for each other,” Judge said. “If somebody doesn’t show up that usually shows up every day, somebody gets on the phone and calls, ‘Are you okay? Do you need a mental health day?’”

The Real Deal

Although Prelude Clubhouse first opened its doors in McKinney on Feb. 7, 2017, they weren’t “the real deal” yet, Judge said. And that’s because they’re part of Clubhouse International, the parent organization that they base their standards and guidelines on who must accredit them. 

A year later, they moved from McKinney to a church in Plano for more space. Someone donated a van to them transport members, and then they secured a transitional employment program and soon found themselves on their way to accreditation. Judge said becoming accredited was extremely important in terms of getting state funding to help with future projects and resources. 

And just a few weeks ago, it happened. Representatives from Clubhouse International came to check out the facility, and Judge said they “passed it with flying colors.”

“It’s just overwhelming, and it’s heartwarming,” Judge said. “I mean, all the board of directors, not just myself, but all the board of directors have worked so hard to make this come to fruition that we could provide a place for adults with severe mental illness — a place for them to go, a place for them to feel welcomed, a place for them to get their lives back.”

Additional Mental Health Resources

If you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, here are some national and local resources to turn to:

For resources focused on finding local mental health care, here are some options

  • Grant Halliburton Foundation. To reach the foundation’s mental health navigation line, call 972-525-8181. Trained navigators will help connect you to the appropriate resources in your area.

Bailey Lewis

Bailey Lewis recently graduated from the University of Oklahoma and served as The OU Daily's news editor and enterprise editor. Previously, she was a summer 2020 news intern at the Malheur Enterprise,...