A bill aimed at expanding community-based support systems for Washingtonians living with mental illnesses passed the Washington State Senate today.

Engrossed Senate Bill 5328, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), would make funding available to establish Clubhouse services statewide. Clubhouses are voluntary programs that enable those struggling with mental illnesses to focus on their strengths in a collaborative setting. The program provides an opportunity for people in similar situations to recover and improve their lives through friendship, shared work, education and employment.

The bill would also require the Department of Health to review and redesign the licensure and oversight process for Clubhouses so they can obtain Medicaid reimbursement while utilizing evidence-based models and expanding services across the state.

“There are so many of our neighbors who are struggling in their daily lives, and we should be offering as many opportunities as possible to get them the help they need,” said Lovelett. “Clubhouses provide folks with a network that supports and uplifts them. They give hope and security for people experiencing the isolation of mental illnesses to live their best lives and to thrive as active community members.”

Having passed the Senate unanimously, the bill will now head to the House for consideration.