How the Crisis Café is reaching out to help people in need

Published Tuesday 21 December 2021

“Just walk in, share what’s worrying you, and, if we can, we’ll help.”

That’s the simple message from the district’s Crisis Café which launched in September 2021 to provide support to anyone who might be feeling anxious, lonely, or struggling with depression or dependence on alcohol, or other substances.

Seeking support at the Crisis Cafe

The pop-up café, held at The Symington Building in Market Harborough every Wednesday from 12noon to 8pm provides a relaxed, informal place for people to drop-in and seek friendly advice if they’re finding it hard to manage difficult feelings.

This month, we spoke to Martin Packer, enhanced recovery worker for Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Substance Misuse service which co-delivers the café in conjunction with Turning Point Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Crisis House and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.

Martin explained that the Crisis Café is already helping local people, with a range of issues, who 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, without an appointment.”

Martin said that the coronavirus lockdowns had increased demand for mental health support. In a time of Covid, it’s harder to talk to neighbours, friends and family on a regular basis. This has exacerbated feelings of isolation and some people’s reliance on alcohol, or other substances. He also said that, in the past, mental health services have been quite fragmented and often people with problems simply didn’t know where to go.

The Market Harborough Crisis Café is the third of its kind in the county, 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.

Recently, the charity has been linking up with the local farming community and Women’s Institute groups to talk to them about mental health issues. They are also seeking opportunities to connect with more local organisations, and are currently looking to potentially open a new Crisis Café in Rutland.

Martin added: “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. We welcome people of all backgrounds, no issue is off limits, and if we can help, we will.”

The Crisis Café is open, without appointments, from 12 noon–8pm every Wednesday at The Symington Building, on Adam and Eve Street in Market Harborough, or – if you did not want to attend in person – you can call 0808 800 3302.