What Is A Clubhouse?

A Clubhouse International Clubhouse is a community-based center that provides opportunities for people with mental illness. Members of our Clubhouses are able to fulfill their potential and achieve a sense of belonging, dignity and self-worth through employment, housing, social and educational choices available through the Clubhouse. Much more than simply a program or a social service, a Clubhouse International Clubhouse is a community of people who are working together to achieve a common goal.


The Clubhouse is organized to support people living with mental illness to rejoin the worlds of friendship, family, employment and education. Clubhouse International Clubhouses powerfully demonstrate that people with mental illness can lead productive and satisfying lives. They offer members:

  • A Clubhouse day in which the talents and abilities of members are recognized and encouraged
  • Opportunities to obtain paid employment in mainstream businesses and industries
  • Assistance in accessing community-based educational resources
  • Assistance in accessing medical, psychological, substance abuse, wellness, and other community support resources
  • Assistance in securing and sustaining safe, decent and affordable housing
  • Participation in consensus-based decision making regarding all important matters relating to the running of the Clubhouse
  • Evening/weekend/holiday social and recreational events


The Clubhouse International Clubhouse Model is effective because it is:

  • Holistic – offering members opportunities for friendship, employment and education, and access to quality housing, medical and psychiatric services through a single caring and safe environment
  • Inclusive – allowing members to meet and follow the example of others who are achieving their personal aspirations and goals
  • Sustaining – helping members become productive members of society over the course of their lives
  • Responsive – dedicated to continuous improvement based on direct feedback from members
  • Cost-Effective – providing members, families and communities significantly more value for money than other mental healthcare approaches

The success of the Clubhouse International Clubhouse model is supported by a deep body of evidence. The Clubhouse International Clubhouse model is included in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP);



Starting A Clubhouse

Initially when you decide to start a Clubhouse it is a good idea to form a "Start-Up Group".
This Start-Up Group consists of talented, energetic individuals who are both committed to and uniquely positioned to helping a Clubhouse get started. Typically a Start-Up group consists of people who represent mental health consumers, family members, mental health professionals, local politicians, community leaders, business people and individuals who can be helpful accessing funding for the Clubhouse.The Start-Up Group is charged with initiating Clubhouse activity and providing community education, support for the new Clubhouse, funding for the Clubhouse and hiring the Director, working with her/him to locate a building for the Clubhouse and beginning to identify community employers for involvement in the Transitional Employment Program.

We advise you to get in contact with and visit an existing Clubhouse in your country, look up in the International Directory at Clubhouse International where the next Clubhouse is located.


Visit our Media Library for further materials.


Running A Clubhouse

International Clubhouse Standards for Clubhouse Programs

The International Standards for Clubhouse Programs, consensually agreed upon by the worldwide Clubhouse community, define the Clubhouse Model of rehabilitation. The principles expressed in these Standards are at the heart of the Clubhouse community’s success in helping people with mental illness to stay out of hospitals while achieving social, financial, educational and vocational goals.

Download here the International Clubhouse Standards for Clubhouse Programs.


Clubhouse International Accreditation (TM)


is a symbol of quality, and a clear demonstration of a Clubhouse’s commitment to excellence. Accredited Clubhouses displaying this icon are universally recognized as operating with a high level of compliance with the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs.


  • Accreditation is awarded for either a one- or three-year period, subject to the degree of adherence by the Clubhouse to the International Standards for Clubhouse Programs (TM).
  • The Accreditation process is both evaluative and consultative. It is conducted by members of the Clubhouse International Faculty for Clubhouse Development (made up of veteran members and staff from Accredited Clubhouses from around the world).


Accreditation Components are:

  • A Clubhouse self-study;
  • A site visit by members of the Clubhouse International Faculty for Clubhouse Development;
  • A findings presentation and dialogue with Clubhouse leadership focusing on improvement opportunities;
  • A written report;
  • The award of Accreditation status; and
  • Ongoing consultation with Clubhouse International.


Visit our Media Library for further materials.