Independence House celebrates 30 years of service

Special to the Daily News

BIG STONE GAP, Va. — Independence House is celebrating 30 years of providing a place where individuals who are diagnosed with mental illness can find psychosocial support including rehabilitation services focused on achieving an individual’s highest level of independence.

“The goal is to create opportunities where the natural human capacity for growth and healing can take place,” said Eric Greene, LPC, Senior Vice President of Virginia Services. “Independence House has helped lots of individuals enjoy the benefits of community life and inclusion in the past 30 years. It’s an important place for persons with serious mental illnesses that may otherwise be homebound or isolated.”

The key to the clubhouse model is to focus on recovery through networking, learning independent living skills and socialization where staff are always supportive and everyone has a job to do. “Independence House has meant so much to the members who have attended over the years,” said Regina Lawson, Division Director of Developmental Services. “Aside from the skill building part of the service, it has given many the feeling of acceptance and of having a meaningful, productive place in the community.”

It’s called a ‘clubhouse’ because everyone is a member, and each is wanted, needed and expected to attend. The program helps individuals care for themselves by developing social, vocational and other ‘living’ skills that help them find ways to help themselves and others independent of professional care. The program first opened in Appalachia.

Frontier Health services in Lee, Scott and Wise counties and the city of Norton are funded in partnership with Planning District One Behavioral Health Services. For services information, visit

Special to the Daily News

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