“Just walk in and share what’s worrying you" says staff at the Crisis Café in Harborough
The café was opened in September 2021 to get behind anyone feeling anxious or lonely or is struggling with depression or dependence on alcohol or other substances
The Crisis Café in Market Harborough has a simple message for anyone across Harborough district who would like support.
“Just walk in, share what’s worrying you, and, if we can, we’ll help,” say the staff there.
The Crisis Café was opened in September 2021 to get behind anyone feeling anxious or lonely or is struggling with depression or dependence on alcohol or other substances.
The pop-up café is held at The Symington Building on Market Harborough’s Adam and Eve Street every Wednesday from 12noon to 8pm.
It provides a relaxed, informal place for people to drop in and seek friendly advice if they’re finding it hard to manage difficult feelings on their own.
Martin Packer is an enhanced recovery worker for Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse service.
They co-deliver the café alongside the Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Crisis House and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.
Martin said the Crisis Café is already helping people with a range of issues when they pop in to see them on a Wednesday.
When they do, they are greeted with a hot drink, a comfy sofa, and a welcoming, friendly and non-judgmental environment.
Martin said: “We know people may not be accessing support for their mental health via their GP or may not have anyone else or need some guidance on mental health support.
“That’s why we’re here – and you can just walk in and talk to us without an appointment.”
Martin said coronavirus lockdowns over the last 21 months had increased demand for mental health support.
People have found it harder to talk to and engage with neighbours, friends and family on a regular basis and become cut off.
This has heightened feelings and fears of isolation and increased some people’s reliance on alcohol or other substances such as drugs.
Martin also said that mental health services have been fragmented and often people with problems simply didn’t know where to go.
Market Harborough Crisis Café is the third of its kind in Leicestershire, with two others operating in Leicester city centre and Loughborough.
The drop-in service provides a safe, private space for those who are struggling as well as one-to-one sessions where they can learn practical coping strategies.
It can also make referrals, if required, to more specialist support, which previously could only be done by a GP.
The charity has also started linking up with the local farming community and Women’s Institute groups to talk to them about mental health issues.
Staff are also seeking opportunities to connect with more local organisations - and are hoping to open a new Crisis Café in Rutland.
“What I would say to anyone who is unsure whether to pop along is, just do it - come down and talk to us.
“Walking through the door is often the hard bit, but once people do, they are immediately glad they did,” added Martin.
“We welcome people of all backgrounds, no issue is off limits - and if we can help you then we will.”
The Crisis Café is open, without appointments, from 12noon–8pm every Wednesday at The Symington Building on Adam and Eve Street.
And if you do not want to attend in person you can call 0808 800 3302 to talk and get support instead.