As gun control issues continue to stir debate many people say the real issue is mental illness.

In a letter Governor LePage sent to the Obama Administration last week he said, "to prevent future tragedies...we must be willing to focus on delivery of mental health care services."

One such program providing valuable service to folks living with mental illness in Maine is the Clubhouse program.

Lisa Soucie is the Director of High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville and she says the clubhouse is a collaborative community of people who support each other throughout the recovery process to enhance their lives through returning to work.

Soucie says the clubhouse program focuses on the person’s skills and abilities rather than their illness or diagnosis.  Soucie says whether it’s schizophrenia, bi-polar disease, severe depression or other diagnosis, it's estimated one person out of every four lives with some form of mental illness.

She says the High Hopes Clubhouse program currently works with about 15 employers in Maine who are eager to hire clubhouse members for jobs because they’re motivated employees. Soucie says right now she has 18 clubhouse members working full time and they have been able to reduce their dependence on government programs for support.

The High Hopes Clubhouse in Waterville was the first started in Maine, and is one of about 300 worldwide.