Mission and Model
Our mission is to foster a peer-support, self-help community that eliminates social isolation and rebuilds the confidence, purpose and community of adults living with a serious mental illness.
UP House follows the “Clubhouse Model.” Currently, there are over 320 clubhouses in 28 countries around the world. All Clubhouses are guided by the operating principles and ethics of the Clubhouse International’s International Standards for Clubhouse Programs. UP House is the only Clubhouse in Québec.
The Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery is a comprehensive and dynamic program of support and opportunities for people living with a significant mental illness.
It is unique (in Quebec) because:
- Its approach is grounded in an empowerment paradigm of helping that presupposes ability and emphasizes a strengths-based perspective; resiliency; energized participants; collaborative partnerships with staff and administrators; high expectations; mutual assistance; self-advocacy and collective action for social change;
- Clubhouse participants are “members” (not patients or clients);
- Clubhouse staff are hired for their ability to compassionately foster a dynamic, productive and supportive community; discover each member’s potential; engage with them in a manner such that they actualize it; and place confidence in them as they take on new challenges. Clinical treatment approaches have been decidedly removed from the Clubhouse environment to emphasize members’ valuable personhood over-and-above their mental illness;
- Opportunities to participate and contribute (see What We Do) are put in place to focus on members’ strengths, not their illness;
- Empowered members work side-by-side with staff as their colleagues and partners; co-managing all operations of the Clubhouse together and making administrative decisions together using a consensus model;
- Empowered as such, members create new opportunities to contribute, or modify those in place, in line with what they feel is personally meaningful, significant and needed;
- Members confirm their abilities, potential and inherent value and find confidence and purpose as they experience their work meeting the needs of the Clubhouse; appreciation for their work is felt; genuine relationships form as they work together towards common goals; and they see their Clubhouse develop based on their ideas, initiatives, leadership and adoption of vital organizational responsibilities.
All clubhouses are founded on four guaranteed rights of membership:
- A right to a place to come;
- A right to a place to return;
- A right to meaningful relationships; and
- A right to meaningful work* .
*Work is defined at UP House as meaningful contributions that support its daily operations and help it develop to meet more of the diverse needs of Montrealers living with a mental illness.
Members are members for life. There is no revoking of membership based on absence for any amount of time.
All clubhouses structure their daily activities around a system know as the “work-ordered day.”
The work-ordered day:
- Is a daily seven to eight-hour period (seven at UP House) Monday through Friday during which members sign up at morning and afternoon meetings to volunteer* their efforts in specific house work units or projects of their choice;
- Parallels typical business hours, reflecting Clubhouses’ emphasis on productivity.
*Contributing to or participating at UP House is unconditionally voluntary. Members are not pressured to work harder or longer than they wish and come and go as they please.
An Evidence-Based Model — Clubhouse Research
The Clubhouse Model was accepted in 2011 for inclusion on the United State’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Programs .
Peer reviewed research has demonstrated the Clubhouse Model is effective in:
- Promoting recovery;
- Reducing hospitalizations;
- Being cost-effective;
- Improving well-being and physical and mental health; and,
- Improving quality of life.
A comprehensive list of research articles and their abstracts from Clubhouse International can be found here.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s evaluation of Clubhouse research can be found here.