What is a Clubhouse? The Clubhouse model is a form of psychosocial rehabilitation, founded on the principle that recovery from serious mental illness must involve the whole person in a caring community. The community offers respect, hope, relationships, and opportunities for friendship, education and employment.

Why are Clubhouse clients referred to as members? Clubhouse uses the term “member” to reflect the voluntary, community-based nature of the Clubhouse. Using this term makes it clear that members are integral and active participants and facilitators of the program. The Clubhouse exists for and because of its members.

Who are Clubhouse members? Members are men and women of all ages and walks of life who work within the Clubhouse to promote their recovery from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, or other serious mental illness. Participation is voluntary, with all services delivered by members and a “generalist” staff working collaboratively. Responsibility for decision-making is shared, with members and staff participating in governance, policy-making and development.

Is every mentally ill person accepted? No. The Clubhouse has control over acceptance of new members. Candidates who pose a threat to the safety of the Clubhouse community may be excluded from membership. Otherwise, persons are welcome regardless of their functional capacity.

Does Clubhouse provide psychiatric treatment, including medication and therapy?No. The Clubhouse approach to psychiatric rehabilitation is non-medical and community-based. There is no medical staff at Clubhouse. The Clubhouse Model is based on the belief that members are partners in their own recovery, rather than merely the passive recipients of treatment, and that meaningful work and relationships are integral parts of their recovery. Members work side by side with staff to organize and administer every program, and success is dependent upon the degree to which members assume responsibility for themselves. Clubhouse members are encouraged by staff and fellow members to comply with medications and keep appointments with their doctors, but they are not required to do so to remain members.

What is a ‘work-ordered day?’ The work-ordered day is the core of the Clubhouse experience. Members and staff work together in an open environment to keep the Clubhouse functioning. They prepare daily meals, complete administrative and clerical work, publish a newsletter, develop partnerships with local businesses, and orient new Clubhouse members and guests. As members develop confidence, they may choose to continue their education or seek part-time work through a transitional employment program.

What else does a Clubhouse offer? A functioning certified Clubhouse offers help with employment, health and disability benefits, housing, advocacy, finances, education, recreation, and makes referrals to clinicians when necessary.

How is Clubhouse different from existing resources in San Antonio? First, members find a place to belong. In the Clubhouse, members can rebuild careers and relationships that have been disrupted by disabling mental illness. The welcoming community and productive routine promote a degree of self-acceptance and belonging normally considered beyond their reach with conventional mental health rehabilitation. In all cases, the Clubhouse focuses on members’ strengths, talents and abilities, giving them a venue to explore, discover and celebrate their “well selves.”