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Clubhouse International Model

Putnam Clubhouse is affiliated with Clubhouse International, a global network that creates opportunities for people recovering from mental illness to be respected and fully-participating members of society. Clubhouse International helps to develop and strengthen more than 300 clubhouse communities in 28 countries by overseeing the creation and evolution of the 36 International Clubhouse Standards; facilitating and assuring the quality of training, consultation, certification, research and advocacy; and providing effective communication and dissemination of information.

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

The Clubhouse International Model has proven successful worldwide with rehabilitation, recovery, and reintegration into the community. The Model is included in the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Programs. Documented research indicates clubhouse participants and their communities benefit from higher employment, reduced hospitalization and incarceration, improved well-being, and reduced cost of services compared to other programs. In 2011, following a rigorous multi-year review process, ICCD certified Putnam Clubhouse for a three year period. Accreditation by ICCD involves a comprehensive evaluation in terms of fidelity to the 36 International standards and requires training, site visits, and an extensive self-study. Putnam Clubhouse is the first program in Northern California to achieve ICCD accreditation.


  • Work-Ordered Day: The Clubhouse is designed to provide the opportunity to work for all the members organized around a work-ordered day. The work-ordered day takes place daytime hours Monday through Friday, during which members and staff work together as colleagues to carry out the tasks involved in running the Clubhouse. Members volunteer to participate as they feel ready and according to their individual interests. The Clubhouse work includes cooking and cleaning, gardening, fundraising, research, assisting each other with housing, outreach, intake and orientation of new members, new staff orientation, evaluation of Clubhouse effectiveness, administering the employment programs, assistance with education, planning social activities, and assisting members to obtain services from the wider community.
  • Employment Programs: The Clubhouse provides members with opportunities to return to paid employment. Transitional employment is a highly structured program for members returning to work. The Clubhouse contracts with employers for jobs that it guarantees to fill. The Clubhouse then trains members to do the job and assures that a member or staff person fulfills the commitment. These placements generally are part-time, include a lot of support from the Clubhouse staff, and last from 6 – 9 months. When concluding a placement, the member can choose to try another placement or move to supported or independent employment. Supported employment is a program through which members, when ready, are given help from the Clubhouse to apply for and acquire a job of their own. Assistance from the Clubhouse, either at the Clubhouse or on-site when requested, is available. Independent employment assistance is provided at the Clubhouse for members who are ready and want to find jobs on their own within the larger community.
  • Social and Recreational Programs: The Clubhouse organizes structured and non-structured social activities for the members. These activities are always scheduled outside the work day. On evenings and weekends, members and staff have the opportunity to get to know each other outside the pressures of the Clubhouse work day.
  • Educational Opportunities: The Clubhouse assists members to complete education that has been disrupted or to start certificate and degree programs at academic or adult education programs. The Clubhouse may also take advantage of the talents and skills of staff and members to provide in-house educational opportunities.
  • Community Support: Members are given support in acquiring and keeping affordable housing, good mental health and general medical services, government disability benefits, and any other services they may need.
  • Reach-Out: Part of the daily work of the Clubhouse involves keeping track of members. When a member does not attend the Clubhouse, a “reachout” telephone call or visit is made to let the member know that he or she is missed.
  • Decision Making and Governance: Members and staff meet in open forums to discuss policy issues and future planning for the Clubhouse.


Documented research on existing Clubhouse International’s clubhouses indicates that members and their communities benefit from higher employment rates, a decrease in hospitalization, reduced incarceration, improved well-being, and reduced cost of services in comparison to other programs. Providing people recovering from mental illness the opportunity to achieve social, financial, and vocational goals through a clubhouse program can lead to the following results:

  • Higher Employment: Two studies have shown that the Clubhouse International’s Clubhouse Model produces higher rates of employment, longer job tenure, and higher earnings than other programs offered for people with mental illness. A study of 17 clubhouses has shown that longer job tenure and higher earnings correlates to longer clubhouse membership.
  • Reduced Hospitalization: In one study, membership in a clubhouse reduced the number of hospitalizations by one third and reduced the average number of hospital days by 70%.
  • Reduced Incarcerations: Criminal justice system involvement has been found to be substantially diminished during and after clubhouse membership.
  • Improved Well-Being: Compared with individuals receiving services as usual, clubhouse members were significantly more likely to report that they had close friendships and someone they could rely on when they needed help.
  • Reduced Cost of Services: Clubhouse International’s Clubhouse Model programs cost significantly less than other service models.
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