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If you know someone living with mental illness, Clubhouses can help!

Clubhouses are a powerful demonstration that people with mental illness can and do lead normal, productive lives. Each Clubhouse we open touches an average of 500 people! Here are the answers to commonly asked questions. If your question isn’t listed, contact us at 212.582.0343 or e-mail us at info@clubhouse-intl.org.

What is Clubhouse International?

Clubhouse International is the only global mental health nonprofit that expands and enhances recovery opportunities for people living with mental illness by integrating the proven recovery model – the Clubhouse Model of psychosocial rehabilitation - into community-based mental health systems worldwide. Clubhouse International’s fast-growing network has grown to more than 350 Clubhouses in 32 countries.

What is the Clubhouse Model?

The Clubhouse Model is a psychosocial rehabilitation approach to recovery from serious mental illness which addresses social and economic factors as part of a comprehensive, community-based approach.

What is a Clubhouse: is it a private club?

A Clubhouse is a community-based mental health service that empowers people with mental illness to take control of their recovery and thrive through access to opportunities for employment, socialization, education, skill development, housing and improved wellness. People who participate are known as “Members.” Although not entirely exclusive, membership is open only to people living with a mental illness, typically any local adult resident who has a history of mental illness. A Clubhouse is a place where members can find others who understand what it’s like to live with a mental illness. It is not a treatment program or mental health service, but rather a place where members develop friendships and opportunities to work together.

Can anyone become a Clubhouse member? Must I be referred by a doctor and/or another member?

Yes, typically, if you are an adult living with mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, major personality disorder, etc.), you are eligible for membership. Each Clubhouse has its own application and referral process, but self-referrals are also welcomed. Clubhouses are very friendly places, so if you are interested in learning more about a particular Clubhouse, we advise you to call and set up a visit.

What is the average age of a Clubhouse member? (Am I too old, too young?)

The average age varies, but Clubhouses are for adults. Some Clubhouses have specific programs for young adults, but most accept members who are 18 years or older. Typically, there is no upper age limit. The average age of Clubhouse members worldwide is about 35, but we have many members who are older and younger than that. Clubhouses offer members many opportunities to become involved, and all offer things to do that are suitable for adults of any age.

What is the cost of becoming a Clubhouse member?

Membership at a Clubhouse is free to anyone living with a mental illness. Clubhouses do not need to charge members for their services because they receive most of their funding from government or municipal grants or contracts.

Do I need health insurance to cover the costs of becoming a Clubhouse member?

No. Some Clubhouses have certain eligibility requirements for the receipt of government-funded services, but most people living with mental illness will qualify. In the rare circumstance when someone doesn’t qualify, a Clubhouse will generally help that individual find an alternative source of funding.

What is a staff member?

A Clubhouse staff member is a paid employee of the Clubhouse. Clubhouse staff members have specific job responsibilities related to the day-to-day operation of the Clubhouse and helping members with their individual recoveries and/or life goals.

Are doctors available at the Clubhouse for therapy and medications?

No: there are no medical, clinical or treatment services at the Clubhouse. However, every Clubhouse will help members locate and gain access to the medical and other social services they may need.

Will somebody at the Clubhouse monitor my medication?

No: please see the answer to the question above. Although most people living with mental illness take medication, the Clubhouse is meant to be a place where an individual is a member, not a patient or a client. Medical and clinical services are provided for members by other community service providers.

How much time do I have to spend at the Clubhouse?

Membership and participation at a Clubhouse is completely voluntary. Each individual decides how much and how often they wish to be involved.

What can I do at the Clubhouse? What activities go on here and must I participate?

There are many things to do at a Clubhouse. The different types of activities are divided in to the following categories:

  • Work Day: includes many projects that are important to Clubhouse members. The work day includes opportunities to do things like clerical and computer work, telephone work, food service, building maintenance and clean up, research, audio visual production projects, newsletter preparation, budget management, Clubhouse administration, member transportation services, mental health advocacy, etc.
  • An Employment Program: involves how the Clubhouse helps members get and keep paid jobs.
  • An Education Program: involves how the Clubhouse helps members enroll in and complete education programs, including College and other degree programs.
  • An Evening, Weekend and Holiday Social and Recreational Program: includes activities where Clubhouse members and staff have fun together and build friendships.

Each Clubhouse chooses and organizes the activities and work that are needed and wanted by the members of that particular Clubhouse. Most have some version of the above activities. Every Clubhouse will have low-cost meals, meaningful work, employment and education programs, and fun.

Members may participate in as much or as little as they want to in any of the Clubhouse activities. There are no requirements about the amount of participation. At Clubhouses, we recognize that members come to us at various points in their lives and recovery. One member might want to come to the Clubhouse every day and be involved in many activities, while another may only want to come and get help with employment. Some members may just want to come once in a while until they are ready to do more. Each member determines his or her own level of participation.

Can my Clubhouse provide me with a place to live?

No one lives at the Clubhouse, but every Clubhouse makes certain that members have safe, decent and affordable homes. Some Clubhouses have apartment programs that are managed by the Clubhouse and available for members.

Must I work? If so, do I get paid for it?

No members are required to work. However, most members help out sooner or later because of all that has to be done to maintain the Clubhouse. Members are not paid for the volunteer work they do at the Clubhouse, but any member who wants or needs to have paid employment can find help gaining and keeping a paid job through the Clubhouse’s employment programs.

What are the Clubhouse rules?

Every Clubhouse has its own rules and policies which are typically similar to any other adult organization or business. Members and staff decide together what types of policies are needed to make the Clubhouse attractive and effective for people living with mental illness to succeed. Most Clubhouses have a regular decision-making or policy meeting where members and staff discuss and decide on important issues. Of course, attendance and participation at the meeting is voluntary and optional.

How long does membership in a Clubhouse last?

Clubhouse membership does not have any time limits. Membership is considered for life, and once someone is a member, he or she can return to the Clubhouse after any length of absence.

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