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Clubhouse Stories

Growth of Clubhouses in China
December 1, 2015

By Eva Yau, Clubhouse International, and Ashley Liu, Hope Clubhouse Member

Hope Clubhouse has indeed provided me with a place to go, a right to meaningful work, a right to meaningful relationships, and a right to a place to return.” – Ashley Liu, Hope Clubhouse member

The need for mental health services is enormous in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), where there are 4.3 million people with serious mental illness. Developing Clubhouses in China presents multiple challenges:

  • Funding has been difficult to sustain, especially in the initial stage. There is also a lack of coverage by national insurance and consistent government sponsorship
  • We need to learn how to work with family members who may have a major influence on the recovery of members
  • PRC is only in an initial stage of understanding the concept of recovery and rehabilitation. There is very limited knowledge and skills.
  • Employment and educational opportunities are limited for people with mental illness due to stigma issues
  • Due to the language barrier, it is difficult to communicate with the international Clubhouse community

Despite these challenges, we have experienced some major successes in bringing the Clubhouse Model to China:

  • Five Clubhouses in Mainland China are registered as members of Clubhouse International
  • Three have been successfully accredited
  • There are five other developing Clubhouses in Changsha
  • A review of all Accreditation reports shows significant compliance in the areas of employment, funding, governance and administration
  • The General Office of the State Council, PRC has adopted the work of Heart Wing Clubhouse in the “Social Management Innovation Case Book”
  • PRC Mental Health Law Explanation regards the Clubhouse Model as an innovative example of community psychiatric rehabilitation
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