A groundbreaking mental health cafe has recently opened its doors in Birmingham, offering a unique space for individuals to access support without enduring long waiting lists. The Grounded cafe, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, not only provides hot drinks and snacks but also boasts mental health trained staff who are available to engage in conversations with visitors. With a generous funding of £450,000 from the NHS, the primary objective of this cafe is to eliminate the stigma surrounding discussions about mental health.
In a remarkable collaboration between the Living Well Consortium and Birmingham Mind charity, the cafe, located in Selly Oak, has quickly become an invaluable resource for the local community. Its focus extends beyond the general public and aims to specifically assist students, who constitute a significant portion of the population. The demand for mental health support among students has witnessed a staggering rise, with a 51.4% surge in calls to the student help support line Nightline since 2020. Nevertheless, the services offered by the Grounded cafe are not limited exclusively to students.
The impact of this cafe on its customers has already been overwhelmingly positive. One local woman expressed her joy at discovering a place where she can access therapy promptly without having to endure lengthy waiting lists. She enthused, “You don’t know how happy I am [to have] found somewhere like this. I am able to access therapy. I am going to see a therapist in a week, there’s no big waiting list.”
The staff at the Grounded cafe are deeply committed to fostering an open and supportive environment for all individuals. They actively encourage people to simply drop in and engage with someone or seek guidance on accessing appropriate mental health support. Additionally, the cafe offers a variety of “wellbeing workshops” that cover various aspects such as fitness, mindfulness, and yoga.
The Grounded cafe in Birmingham is undoubtedly making a remarkable difference in the lives of those seeking mental health support. By offering a welcoming space, trained staff, and an array of workshops, this cafe plays a pivotal role in promoting mental well-being and dismantling the barriers associated with seeking help.