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VISN 5 MIRECC - Connecting Veterans to Community Care: VA/Clubhouse Points of Contact

Recovery happens in the community! As VA continues to prioritize connecting Veterans to community care, the VISN 5 MIRECC is keen to support innovative efforts that help make this happen. We have recently partnered with Jason Riddle, social worker in VISN 10, to promote VA facility partnerships with local Clubhouses through establishing VA/Clubhouse Points of Contact.

Clubhouses are inclusive community centers in which members have opportunities to build long-term relationships with each other. The first Clubhouse, called Fountain House, was started in New York in 1948, when former patients of a psychiatric hospital began to meet, forming a support system for people living with mental illness outside of formal services and treatment. From these origins, the Clubhouse model emerged, and there are now hundreds of Clubhouses around the world.

Clubhouses operate based on consensus-based decision-making, in which all members have a say in how the community is run. Members may contribute to the daily operations of the Clubhouse by working collaboratively.

To learn more about Clubhouses visit the Clubhouse International website at

At its core, the Clubhouse model supports holistic recovery through opportunities for meaningful relationships, inclusion, belonging and community. Clubhouse members are supported in finding paid work, secure and affordable housing, educational resources and crisis intervention as needed. Social and recreational events are offered for members. Research shows that the Clubhouse model results in decreased hospitalizations,1 reduced criminal justice system involvement,2 improved well-being and increased likelihood to report close friendships,3and better physical and mental health through reduced disconnectedness4 for members. Additonally, research supports the effiicacy of the Clubhouse Model in promoting employment and improving quality of life.5 For an extensive list of research supporting positive outcomes due to the Clubhouse model, visit the Clubhouse website

Clubhouses can offer Veterans:

  • Increased social interaction
  • Skill enhancement/building
  • Ways to combat loneliness and isolation
  • A sense of community
  • Social networks that reach beyond the walls of the clubhouse
  • A stigma-free environment
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Help with accessing resources

Though Clubhouses are a valuable community resource for individuals with mental health conditions, many VA providers and Veterans are not aware of this resource. To address this gap, a new role is emerging at VA facilities across the country: the VA/Clubhouse Point of Contact, an individual who establishes and maintains communication with local Clubhouses and provides education about them to Veterans and providers at their VA facility.

Any VA staff member can be a VA/Clubhouse Point of Contact. Currently, psychologists, social workers, Local Recovery Coordinators, Peer Specialists, and others are filling this role at over 70 VA facilities across the country!

Interested in becoming a VA/Clubhouse Point of Contact? Below are some helpful resources:

If you would like to find out who the VA/Clubhouse Point of Contact is at your facility, contact Jason Riddle at for an updated list.

  1. Di Masso, J., Avi-Itzhak, T., & Obler, D. R. (2001). The clubhouse model: An outcome study on attendance, work attainment and status, and hospitalization recidivism. Work: Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation, 17(1), 23–30.
  2. Johnson J, & Hickey S. (1999). Arrests and incarceration after psychosocial program involvement: Clubhouse vs. jailhouse. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 23, 66–69.
  3. Warner R, Huxley P, Berg T. (1999). An Evaluation of the Impact of Clubhouse Membership On Quality of Life and Treatment Utilization. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 45(4), 310-320. doi:10.1177/002076409904500410
  4. Leff, H.S., McPartland, J.C., Banks, S. et al. Service Quality as Measured by Service Fit and Mortality Among Public Mental Health System Service Recipients. (2004). Ment Health Serv Res6, 93–107.
  5. McKay, C., Nugent, K.L., Johnsen, M. et al. (2018). A Systematic Review of Evidence for the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation. Adm Policy Ment Health 45, 28–47

For more information on Clubhouses:

Click on each + to see additional information below:

Links to Clubhouses

Clubhouses for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Articles about VA and Clubhouses

Videos about Clubhouses


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