Clubhouse helps heal community residents with mental illness

The Agency for Community Treatment Services, or ACTS, is a global initiative that just opened its first location with staff working side by side with members on personal goals.
Posted at 8:38 PM, Jun 07, 2024

TAMPA, Fla. — The path to recovery is just now coming into focus for Michael Tozzi.

“Being over here, it really helps me not being alone," he said.

Tozzi is talking about the Agency for Community Treatment Services, or ACTS. The global initiative just opened its first location, which they are calling their clubhouses.

Tozzi said he’s dealt with addiction, depression and loneliness for years. But it wasn’t until he came into the clubhouse that he actually started to heal.

“Some people look up to me in a way because I can relate to them,” he said.

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“He needed a community to belong to that listens to him and to believe in what his goals are. This is a place of recovery, you can come here, it’s safe, it’s a community, we want to help you,” said Jennifer Mullins, ACTS Program Director.

The strategy here is simple: there are no psychiatric or counseling services. It's just staff working side by side with members on personal goals.

Mullins has seen miracles happen here, and Tozzi might just be the next one.

“People, when they come in, feel like they are needed, wanted, and expected, and everybody wants to feel that way; they want to be part of the team, and to see people come in and take control of their own recovery is amazing,” explained Mullins.

For Tozzi, being around people he can relate to is powerful. But addiction and mental health, he said, isn’t often a topic of discussion.

“We don’t talk about all those things, we can talk about it, but we’re mainly just uplifting, helping each other, we’re working with each other,” said Tozzi.

“He realized this is a place he can come in and be himself and continue his recovery,” said Mullins.

This story was originally published by James Tully at Scripps News Tampa.