Newsletter 2021 – A vision for the next few years

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Guido Valentini Chair of the Board of Clubhouse Europe, Club Itaca Roma, Italy

In this historical time, marked by the pandemic, we are experiencing difficult consequences and some good news, like the fact that more than ever before, we have assisted famous people to come out talking about their own psychological problems, and quite often the media gives attention to it. This is a sign of the changes going on and that people are starting to be more open and less stigmatizing about mental health issues. It has started a process of decreasing the stigma towards people suffering from a mental illness and there is a growing awareness that everyone could eventually be touched by this.

In this changing environment, the Clubhouse Europe Movement can play an increasingly important role in contributing to the dialogue and social emancipation to overcome many prejudices towards those suffering from mental health problems. For this reason, we are making an innovative effort to be more present in every European nation with Clubhouse Europe representatives prepared to describe us and the Clubhouse model, in the native language of the region. In addition, by being familiar with the local cultural customs, it will reduce the cultural and language gaps and it will be easier to be recognized by the institutional representatives and the populations as belonging to that community.

This is a typical Ambassador role, and it’s exactly the kind of person that the Board members and the Chair of Clubhouse Europe are looking to develop by involving new volunteers from the European Clubhouse Movement. These volunteers should be a resource to advocate for Clubhouse Europe and the Clubhouse model in their own country using their mother tongue. Moreover, the Ambassadors will collect information about the mental health situation, in their own countries, to enrich us with interesting news and information on how Clubhouse Europe can assist. We can also help disseminate more information through our social media channel.

The goal is to get Clubhouse’s network stronger and well known in every European country so that we can help provide a Clubhouse to all those that need one.

Guido Valentini

Chair of the Board of Clubhouse Europe,

Club Itaca Roma, Italy

The Importance of Networking

In a Clubhouse World Seminar a few years ago it was said that the Clubhouse model appeared to be the world’s ‘best kept secret’, and this is not something we want to encourage – in fact it’s the total opposite. We need to spread the word so that more people can benefit from attending a Clubhouse. One way of spreading the word is by networking.

Clubhouse Europe has joined three organisations to be able to network at a European level and reach out to other stakeholders in the Mental Health field. The three organisations are Mental Health Europe (MHE), The European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), and the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).

Mental Health Europe

(MHE) is a European non-governmental network organisation committed to the promotion of positive mental health, the prevention of mental distress, the improvement of care, advocacy for social inclusion and the protection of the rights of (ex)users of mental health services, persons with psychosocial disabilities, their families and carers.

Mental Health Europe works closely with the European Institutions and international bodies to mainstream mental health in all policies and end mental health stigma.

Mental Health Europe represents associations and individuals in the field of mental health including users of mental health services, professionals, service providers and volunteers. Together with its members, MHE formulates recommendations for policy makers to develop mental health friendly policies. MHE places users of mental services at the centre of its work to ensure the voice of people who have experienced mental ill health is heard across Europe.

The European Association for the Education of Adults

(EAEA) is the voice of non -formal adult education in Europe. EAEA is a European NGO with 120 member organisations in 43 countries and represents more than 60 million learners Europe-wide.

EAEA is a European NGO whose purpose is to link and represent European organisations directly involved in adult learning. EAEA promotes adult learning and access to and participation in non -formal adult education for all, particularly for groups currently under-represented.

EAEA cooperates with many NGOs and organisations in the field of adult education and European cooperation. EAEA is a network of more than 130 associations from across Europe.

Clubhouse Europe is therefore able to spread the word about the Clubhouse model to a bigger audience by participating in functions organized by these organizations. However, we cannot do this alone, the voice of Clubhouses and especially of its members is extremely important. If you or your Clubhouse would like to help spread the word, please get in touch with us. We are hoping to appoint Clubhouse ambassadors for every European Country.

So, what is Networking? Its about establishing and nurturing longterm, mutually beneficial relationships with the people we meet. Networking is great for sharing ideas and gaining newfound knowledge. It allows us to exchange information and gain new insights from discussions. Networking is about being selfless and sharing opportunities that can help others.

Engaging with your connections regularly is a great way to keep a good rapport with them. Networking will undoubtedly result in opportunities and those using networking as a tool are more likely to succeed as well as building up their self-confidence and opening the world of possibilities. The contacts we make through networking help to make us more visible and raises our profile.

To make the most of our networking it’s important to remember when engaging with colleagues and clients at networking events, to listen far more than we talk. As a rule of thumb, we should try listening 80% of the time and only speaking or responding 20% of the time. Part of being an active listener is learning how to engage in a way that makes the people around you feel supported. In the Clubhouse world we are very aware how important this is.

The World Psychiatric Association

TWPA is a global association representing 145 psychiatric societies in 121 countries, and bringing together more than 250,000 psychiatrists. Our contact in this association is Afzal Javed and he is very supportive of the Clubhouse model and has had 35 years’ experience of working with Clubhouses in Lahore Pakistan. He has been instrumental in helping to promote the Clubhouse model worldwide.


Emily Adamberry Olivero,

MBE Member of the Board of Clubhouse Europe,

Clubhouse Gibraltar

My Favorite Standard

When I was asked what my favourite standard was, I really had to think for a long while. How is it possible to choose one out of all these effective individual Standards that work so well together.

So I decided to focus my thinking on what was most important for my primary needs as a human being. For me it’s being able to do things out of free will. So with that in mind the standard that goes best with that is:

I think it is important to attend voluntarily so that you have no resistance to the time you spent in the Clubhouse and the tasks you are doing. Your time and energy is precious and you should spent it in the way that is good for you, you should not be forced to do something that you can’t or don’t want to do.

Having no time limit shows that the Clubhouse is always there for you even when you haven’t been around for a while. You always have the Clubhouse to return to.

This makes you feel that you are always welcome to return.

Cindy Hamersma

Member of the Board of Clubhouse Europe

De Waterheuvel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

My Favorite Standard

I write this post in memory of Judy Meibach z’’l (may her memories be a blessing), who moderated graciously and with fine expertise the Learning Exchange of Fountain House 2019 in which I participated on the other side of the ocean with a group of members from my Clubhousevbon the Åland Islands, Finland.

All Clubhouse space is member and staff accessible. There are no staff only or member only spaces.

Judy kindled a flame and infected me with her passion for the Standards, because she noticed that Clubhouse saved my life in many ways as it saved hers. I am grateful I got to know her and that she and the Clubhouse movement gave me my voice back, which was still for so many years.

This was the Standard we had the most thrilling discussion with Judy Meibach, Craig Bayer, Lew Widoff, Micheal Hamlin and Kinga Jedrzejczak about, even though one would think it is a quite straightforward one.

The social design of a Clubhouse and the requirements for space according to this very Standard make it impossible that staff or members hide from one another. It promotes equality and ensures that staff and members share power and responsibility in a Clubhouse.

It fights stigma and self-stigma as well as preventing that members are treated like patients or even follow a hierarchical clinical setting in a Clubhouse space. This connects directly to the very beginning of the Clubhouse movement. At that time six patients in New York city (NYC) would meet at the stairs of the library to support each other after having been released from a mental institution in 1948.

Let us reaffirm that their legacy and the one of Judy Meibach won’t be forgotten!

Jonah Bogle

Expert by experience, advisor of the Board of Clubhouse Europe,

Klubbhuset Pelaren, Åland Finland

The Erasmus+ Programme Opens New Possibilities for Clubhouses in Europe

Teams-digi-meeting of Finnish Clubhouse Coali- tion, in photo from right to left chair of board Esko Hänninen, treasurer Aki Laitinen and pro- ject expert Peppi Laine.

The Erasmus+ programme for the period of 2021—2027 opens new possibilities for Clubhouse Europe

and all European psychosocial Clubhouses, their members and staff. For example, it is possible to plan many different kinds of development operations in the frame of Erasmus funding rules.

Projects can be e.g. in the form of small scale mobility activities or training and learning projects of Clubhouse members and staff. This way more Clubhouse participants could be sent in the international Clubhouse training bases in London, Helsinki and Oslo, or in the other training bases worldwide.

As an example, the Finnish Clubhouse Coalition has applied and successfully got Erasmus funding for this type of training and learning project for year 2022!

From the Clubhouse Europe’s point of view the other forms of Erasmus projects could be useful, too. Other Clubhouse-relevant project modes can be the cooperation partnerships, alliances for innovations and forward-looking projects, as well as, 5-years action plans for longer term Erasmus projects. For transnational cooperation projects at least three participating organisations from three countries are required.

In addition, it is possible to plan projects that may offer funding for all costs of Clubhouse quality accreditation processes.

During 2022, several deadlines for funding applications are available: the deadline for mobility type of Clubhouse training and learning projects is 23rd February 2022, for cooperation partnership projects it is 23rd March and 4th Octo- ber, for innovation alliances 15th September, and for 5-years action plan projects the deadline is 19th October 2022.

Objectives of Eramus+ programme

Erasmus+ is the EU Programme in the fields of education, training, youth and sport for the period 2021—2027. High quality, inclusive education in both formal and non-formal learning settings – like in the psychosocial Clubhouses – can equip participants of all ages with the qualifications and skills needed for meaningful participation in their living communities, intercultural understanding and transition in the labour market. The Erasmus+ programme is a key component supporting the EU objectives, among other things, of the Digital Education Action Plan 2021—2027.

Expectation for more inclusive projects

As a part of the COVID-19 pandemic recovery process, the Erasmus+ programme opens its inclusive dimension to new opportunities for personal, socio-educational and mental development of people in Europe and beyond, with the aim of leaving no-one behind by promoting equal opportunities for all.

To increase the impacts of its actions the Programme will reach out more and better to people of different ages and from diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds. From the CH Europe ́s point of view it is important to note, that this inclusive approach concerns the people with mental disorders and psychosocial problems, too.

More information online: resources/programme-guide

Esko Hänninen

Member of the Board of Clubhouse Europe,

chair of the Board of Finnish Clubhouse Coalition,

Helsinki, Finland

Clubhouse International: An Update

As 2021 comes to a close and we continue to adjust and adapt to the challenges of the CO- VID-19 pandemic, Clubhouse International is busy with our work to expand and support our worldwide network. Fourteen new Clubhouses have joined our community so far this year with two others about to begin operations. Additionally, there are more than fifty Startup groups being assisted by Clubhouse International as they work to start their local Clubhouses. Today, just under eighty percent of Clubhouse International member Clubhouses are accredited.

Our working groups are all active. While we are not yet hosting inperson meetings again, we are meeting more frequently via Zoom. The Training Bases and the Accreditation Faculty are both safely working inperson again. If the pandemic related restrictions require it, we are able to return to hybrid and fully virtual training and accreditation again.

In October, we again partnered with the World Federation for Mental Health to recognize World Mental Health Day and to call attention to mental illness as a humanitarian and public health crisis. Working with 20 participating Clubhouses, Clubhouse International emphasized the transfor- mative power of work for people living with mental illness with a Work WORKS campaign. The press release about the campaign You can read: WMHD-2021_Press-Release_FINAL.pdf
Campaign video You will find: _X9QNQ8jlY&

Additionally, we have developed the Clubhouse Coalitions and Associations Committee. The new working group has been established to coordinate the work and cooperation of the 28 regional Clubhouse organizations in our network. Through sub-committees made up of Clubhouse Coalition leaders we will:

  • Promote and coordinate local Clubhouse parti- cipation in Clubhouse International initiatives. (e.g., advocacy, research/data collection, coordi- nated messaging, new Clubhouse expansion, training, and accreditation)
  • Provide a forum for ongoing discussion, support and education for Clubhouse Coalitions and As- sociations
  • Provide Clubhouse Coalitions and Associations with the opportunity to provide advice and feed- back to Clubhouse International about strategic priorities, activities, and programs

And finally, in the past we have held our World Seminars every second year, but because the pandemic has kept us all apart for so long, we thought we would make a change. Therefore, we are excited to announce that we will be holding our next in-person Clubhouse International World Seminar in Baltimore, Maryland September 17—22, 2022. Please mark your calendars for this important event.

B’More Clubhouse, located in the city of Balti- more is eagerly anticipating our arrival and wants your Clubhouse to join us at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. We will be sending out registration information soon and really hope to see you there! Click here to see what you will experience in Baltimore: d/1I9GfIP1AxV9uIeCaPIB9XBp5B7_RXFJ2/view

Joel Corcoran

Clubhouse International, New York, USA

WHO Mental Health Forum

The WHO hosted a two-day Mental Health Forum on 11-12. October 2021. The Forum was held virtually and was attended by Guido Valentini, chair of the Board of the Clubhouse Europe, and Pauli Löija, former member of the Board.

The Mental Health Forum provides an opportunity to bring together stakeholders working on mental health- related issues to exchange ideas, collaborate, and learn from each other.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Forum – Time to Act: transforming mental health systems, doing more and better – reflects the urgent need to act in order to make mental health a core area of renewed investment during and beyond the pandemic.

On the first day there were six Parallel Sessions:

Universal health coverage – mental health for all –

  • Suicide prevention: Decriminalization of suicide and engaging governments and communities on suicide.
  • Collaborative care: An integrated, person-centred approach to moving towards Universal Health Coverage.

Mental Health transformation – leaving no one behind –

  • COVID-19 pandemic response & recovery: Redesigning mental health systems in the context of COVID-19.
  • Developmental disabilities: Strengthening policies and services for children with developmental disabilities.

Innovations in mental health – evidence for change –

  • Digital and multimedia interventios: Where are we, where are the challenges and what is coming?
  • mhGAP e-learning course: Enhancing access to evidence based care for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. On the second day there were six Parallel Sessions: Universal health coverage – mental health for all –
  • WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health: Exploring “the missing link” of secondary care in mental health care sys- tems.
  • Brain Health and Neurology: Advancing actions on epilepsy and other neurological disorders in support of universal health coverage.

Mental health transformation – leaving no one behind –

  • Interagency rapid deployment mechanism for mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: The how, what & what is next?
  • MHPSS Minimum Service Package: Developing an inter- sectorial package to strengthen the MHPSS response in emergencies.

Innovations in mental health – evidence for change –

  • Adolescents’ Mental and Brain Health: Evidence- informed strategies to promote and protect adolescent mental and brain health.
  • E-QualityRights: Responding to capacity building demands to create mental health systems with a rights based approach.

Two remarks from the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statement at the WHO Mental Health Forum:

”We must try to reframe and advance the global mental health agenda through the integration of mental health into pandemic response and recovery plans”.

”Let’s learn the lessons of this pandemic, and work to build resilient health systems and services that meet the mental as well as physical health needs of the population”.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Dévora Kestel concluded the Forum by thanking everyone for their support for people with psychosocial, intellectual and cognitive disabilities.

Information collected Pauli Löija, Helsinki Clubhouse, Finland

Clubhouse Model from the Perspective of an “Expert by Experience”

In Clubhouses people with mental illness are not clients or patients. They are members who work side by side with Clubhouse staff in a very unique collegial relationship. Each member is the best expert on their own illness and life situation.

The main principle is recovery through work. All the work is organized and provided to help members’ self-esteem, confidence and to develop their friendships. When members are active at work ordered day, they don’t have time to think their mental problems.

The Clubhouse model focuses on discovering and developing members’ interests, abilities, and strengths rather than illness and diagnosis. Participation is voluntary and members have access to all the opportunities available through Clubhouses. Members choo- se the way they utilize the Clubhouse, and the staff or members with whom they work. There are no agreements, contracts, schedules or rules intended to enforce participation of members.

All Clubhouses adhere to the 37 Quality Standards. These have been created, developed, and accepted by the Clubhouse worldwide community. They are practical and ethical guidelines for all Clubhouse work. Clubhouses support around 100, 000 members every year.

In Finland the annual cost of running a from the reduced expenditure of psychiatric hospital costs. It is impossible to measure the increased quality of life which Clubhouse members experience by participating in Clubhouse activities.

Clubhouse International was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Foundations Humanitarian Prize in 2014. It is the world’s largest annual humanitarian award presented to nonprofit organizations Evidence-based research on the Clubhouse model demonstrate that it is the most cost-effective recovery model for people who have a history of severe mental illness.

Pauli Löija, Helsinki Clubhouse, Finland

The presentation based on this summary was scheduled to take place at the 9th European Confe- rence on Mental Health on September 29, 2021, but was blocked due to the speaker’s illness.


In summer 2021 at Fontenehuset Rygge (the Clubhouse I belong to), we got fourteen hens and one rooster. There were two types of breeds – Brown Italian and Plymouth Rock.

– Who would have thought they were such cool creatures

I have never had an interest in hens, and never thought that I would be so interested in them.

It all started in Spring 2021 when a man who owned a farm without animals asked if we wanted to start with some hens at his farm. He runs a farm brewery on the farm and wanted the mash (mash is what you brew the beer with) to be used for chicken feed instead of it being thrown away.

This proposal was discussed and after much thinking, we agreed to try to have hens. In May 2021 the planning and carpentry of chicken houses began.

I participated from start to finish and it was incredible fun. I acquainted myself with everything I needed to know and learn about keeping chickens.

When the hens were in their place in the hen house, I was there a lot. Both to get to know the hens and to create routines and care and also to pass this knowledge to the members of the Clubhouse who wanted to care for the hens.

The more I was with the hens, the cooler I thought they were. They have such a wonderful personality and curiosity. They have become a kind of meditation from the hard school of life when I am with them. Then I can for a little while, forget the world outside and just be in their world.

From my personal experience I highly recommend having hens.

Nina Bach

Vice chair of the Board of Clubhouse Europe

Fontenehuset Rygge, Norway

Clubhouse Europe faces a New Era

After almost two years of this global pandemic, it is increasingly clear that COVID-19 has not only affected people’s lungs and the country’s economy, but also the general conditions of society’s mental health and the approach to this issue. More frequently we assist famous people coming out talking about their own psychological problems, and quite often the media gives attention to it. This is just one of the changes that are going on. There are also changes going on in our societies, in the work environments, in the human relationships and in the European Clubhouses network.

We now have a new Board which consists of three continuing Board members and three new ones. Our previous chair Wander Reitsma, Chair of Clubhouse Europe since 2010, left this important role and retired. Many thanks to Wander and to Pauli Löija for the precious work they volunteered in favour of all of us. We will never forget their illuminant leadership and their mediation capacities. The new Board is composed as follows:

Continuing members:
  • Esko Hänninen (Finnish Clubhouse Coalition, Finland, member of the Board)
  • Joel Corcoran (Clubhouse International, USA, member of the Board)
  • Emily Adamberry Olivero (Clubhouse Gibraltar, Gibraltar, member of the Board).
And welcome to the new Clubhouse Europe Board members:
  • Guido Valentini (Club Itaca Roma, Italy, Chair of the Board)
  • Cindy Hamersma (De Waterheuvel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, member of the Board)
  • Nina Bach (Fontenehuset Rygge, Norway, Vice Chair of the Board)
  • Jonah Bogle (Klubbhuset Pelaren, Åland, Finland, member of the Board)


  • Petra Nieuwlaat (De Waterheuvel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Treasurer of Clubhouse Europe).

As the new Chair I am very grateful to all of you for voluntarily making yourselves available to represent our network and by accepting the challenge in a phase with such an unpredictable future, full of difficulties and constantly changing. I wish you all the very best wishes for your contribution to our work to enable us to help provide and support Clubhouses in Europe to all that need one.

Guido Valentini

Chair of the Board of Clubhouse Europe,

Club Itaca Roma, Italy