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Clubhouse International is a global non-profit organization that helps communities around the world create Clubhouses, which are community-based centers that give people with mental illness hope and opportunities to reach their full potential.

Our vision is that there will one day be Clubhouses in the cities and towns of every country in the world. We hope that all people with mental illness will have access to the support of a Clubhouse, which can provide them with the encouragement and assistance they need to lead successful lives, and be fully engaged in society.

In a country with very few resources for people with mental illness, we are a small and new Clubhouse community. But already, our community has an identity, and loyalty. We have many great members and we care for one another. We share in all the work that is needed every time we meet. We have big plans and dreams.
Veronica Nakyewe, Director, Fountain House Kampala Uganda

Our Clubhouse approach is holistic, inclusive, sustaining, responsive and cost-effective. It provides:

  • a scientifically proven, widely successful approach that includes training, Accreditation, and quality assurance elements that are continuously being updated, based on our broad experience of working successfully with Clubhouse members and their families;
  • a central resource for ensuring the long-term viability of our Clubhouse approach, including proven templates for Clubhouse management, fundraising and creating spheres of influence;
  • a global advocacy network that allows our Clubhouses (and the thousands of members, staff and community volunteers involved in our Clubhouses) to tap the resources of a collective force of over 300 other Clubhouses, as well as coordinated research and communications capabilities; and
  • a tradition of successful partnerships with progressive mental-health-funding organizations and agencies in both public and private sectors.

Our Clubhouses are founded on the principle that recovery from serious mental illness must involve the whole person in a vital and culturally sensitive community. A Clubhouse community offers respect, hope, and the opportunity to access the same worlds of friendship, housing, education and employment as the rest of society.

Clubhouse International promotes the start up, development and strengthening of Clubhouses; oversees the creation and evolution of standards; facilitates and assures the quality of training, consultation, certification, research and advocacy; and provides effective communication and dissemination of vital research and information.

The International Clubhouse Community

Every day, in every country, city and town in the world, people with mental illness face the enormous challenge of living with a condition that has interrupted their lives and often stolen their hopes and dreams.

For many years, these individuals have been relegated to the margins of society, and systematically been denied the opportunities due them as citizens in their communities. In recent years, with the advent of improved psychiatric treatment options and rapidly developing community mental health systems, this situation has gradually begun to change. At long last, we are coming to the realization that people with mental illness can live, work and participate in their community − just as any other citizen can.

In New York City in 1948, a small group of people who had been recently discharged from a state psychiatric hospital joined together to create a group known as “We Are Not Alone”, or WANA. WANA was a self-help organization that later evolved into a highly successful and innovative community-based program to help people with mental illness reclaim their lost lives and aspirations. In the early 1950’s WANA purchased a building with the help of a few dedicated volunteers and re-named their organization “Fountain House.”

Sixty five years later, Fountain House is vibrant and growing, and has become the template for the “Clubhouse Model” of psychiatric rehabilitation, now flourishing around the globe.

Today, there are more than three hundred Clubhouses operating in 33 counties around the world. A Clubhouse is a comprehensive center of support and encouragement for its members (people with mental illness). Over the years, Fountain House, along with all the Clubhouses modeled after it, have continuously demonstrated that people with mental illness can successfully live and work in their respective communities. Key to this success is an environment of support, acceptance, and commitment to the potential contribution and success of each individual, regardless of the severity of his or her illness. Our Clubhouses are places where people can “belong” as contributing adults, rather than as full-time “patients” who are there only to be “treated”. The Clubhouse is a place in which members and staff work side by side in all aspects of the day’s work.

Clubhouses also offer an array of specific services from which members can choose as their needs and life goals evolve. Members can take advantage of daytime programming, vocational rehabilitation, employment opportunities, housing support services, case management, social and recreational programs, supported education, advocacy and crisis response services.

Clubhouse International began in June 1994 to serve as a global resource to the rapidly growing international Clubhouse community.

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© International Center for Clubhouse Development d/b/a Clubhouse International

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