A pop-up cafe came to Huddersfield to help those with mental health issues.
Huddersfield University hosted the pioneering initiative, which is the brainchild of lecturer Andrew Clifton, and it is now hoped it can be a regular feature.
The senior mental health nursing expert decided to launch his social enterprise, Chatterbox Café, in the campus’s Ramsden Building with the backing of mental health service users and local business, The Pink Pig, to support those recovering from related illnesses and break down stigma surrounding them.
It ran for a day when students, staff and members of the public chatted to like-minded people about their experiences and raise awareness about how common mental health issues are, which include depression, anxiety and eating disorders.
The idea was born out of Dr Clifton’s research, which revealed a need for like-minded people to come together in a supportive environment to talk without the stigma of being judged, criticised or socially excluded.
He said: “The main philosophy behind our model is that it is service-user led, not academic or clinician led.
“Everyone was welcome to come along whether it be family members, friends, carers, service users, the general public or students.
“Something we want to be perfectly clear about is that it will be available for everyone.”
Dr Clifton noted that one in four people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with anxiety and depression the most common mental disorders in the UK.
Running as a ‘pop-up’ format, the Café will be seen in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield, with the hope of finding permanent premises in the future.
in the long term, it is intended that Chatterbox Café will provide job opportunities for those people who are having difficulty returning to employment.
One of the directors of the social enterprise, Trudie Enright, met Dr Clifton two years ago and has been heavily involved in the launch of the project from the beginning.
A registered nurse, Trudie actively campaigns in raising the awareness of post-natal depression after suffering from the illness herself 23 years ago following the birth of her son.
She said: “The stigma of suffering from depression has been a major factor on my life.
“I feel really passionate that mental illness should be looked upon in the same way as someone having diabetes or a migraine, for example, but it’s not-the fact of the matter is people just don’t want to know.
“I hope that Chatterbox Café will be a step towards changing attitudes and confronting the stigma that surrounds people who suffer from mental illnesses.”