The Chatterbox Café will provide a space for people to chat with like-minded people – friends, family, carers, service users, the general public, staff and students.
ONE in four people – a quarter of the population – 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.
In a bid to raise awareness of this issue, Dr Andrew Clifton, a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Huddersfield, has established a new social enterprise called Chatterbox Café with the help and support of mental health service users and a well-known local business, The Pink Pig.
The Café will support mental well-being by providing a space for people to go and chat about their recovery to like-minded people as well as raising awareness to the general public about mental health problems and the stigma that surrounds it.
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 and in the long term it is intended that Chatterbox Café will provide meaningful employment opportunities for those people who are having difficulty returning to employment.
The launch of the pilot ‘pop-up café’ took place at the University’s Ramsden Café situated within the Ramsden Building on Thursday 11 December.
Within his research, Dr Clifton identified a need, particularly in Huddersfield, Dewsbury and the surrounding local area, for like-minded people to come together in a supportive environment to talk without the stigma of being judged, criticised or socially excluded.
“The main philosophy behind our model is that it is service-user led, not academic or clinician led,” explains Dr Clifton.
“Everyone is 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,” he continued.
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 very beginning.
A registered nurse, and herself a service user, Trudie actively campaigns in raising the awareness of post-natal depression after suffering from the illness herself 23 years ago after the birth of her son.
“The stigma of suffering from depression has been a major factor on my life,” said Trudie.
“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.”
Find out more about Chatterbox Café on their Twitter page.