SAN ANTONIO -- It's a place where people living with mental illnesses can connect, make friends, and even find employment -- we're talking about Clubhouses.

  • Members given responsibilities to stay busy
  • People get to connect through similarities

There are more than 300 local Clubhouses in 30 countries around the world.

We know during the holiday season it's stressful for just about everybody, but for people living with mental illness, feelings of anxiety and depression, that feeling can be amplified. That's why places like the Clubhouse in San Antonio, Austin, and across the country, offer that extra level of support.

"We prepare the tables for lunchtime," said David Pena.

David Pena and his buddy Jesus Hernandez have a pretty important job.

"For four or five years I've been coming to the Clubhouse," Pena said.

Almost every day they make sure the dining hall is in top shape for other members.

"I like making friends and I help people out. Then we talk to each other while we take a break and then we work together again," said Hernandez.

During the holiday season, the Clubhouse will stay open and people will be able to hang out, share a meal, and of course--continue to stay busy if they want to.

Everyone at the Clubhouse has a story.

"Well I have a degree in applied physics so numbers are my thing. I came here, they offered a number job to me and I said 'I'll take it'," said Steven Jackson.

Jackson won't be slowing down. He's right in the middle of making a budget spreadsheet for the entire Clubhouse.

"People in common have a mental illness here. Everybody is pretty much on the same page. So people here understand a lot about stuff that normal people wouldn't understand," he said.

It's a feeling of community that helps people push through what could be one of the most difficult times of the year.

"Some people are estranged from their families. So if they didn't have Clubhouse to go to they would just kind of be sitting at home and by themselves thinking ‘I wish I had someone to spend Christmas with,’" said member Ellen Baur.