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Mental health café’s go from strength to strength

STEAM House Cafés have been opened by Access Community Trust in both King’s Lynn, Gorleston and other areas across Norfolk and Waveney. STEAM stands for Support, Transform, Eat, Aspire and Motivate – helping people in Norfolk and Waveney to lead healthier, longer and happier lives.

Supported by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, and the wider Integrated Care System, the mental health crisis cafe has created a number of full-time jobs, providing a wide range of holistic support and therapies for adults experiencing mental health crisis. They provide an easy to access opportunity to meet new people and share experiences. The cafés are open from 11am until 4pm, with individual appointments and group services also provided from late afternoon until late into the evening.

A range of activities are delivered each week, including community meals, mindfulness, arts and craft therapy sessions, employment advice, small group therapy sessions and certified learning.

Emma Ratzer, Chief Executive of Access Community Trust and Chair of Norfolk and Waveney Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Assembly, said: “I am so pleased we have been able to open two mental health focused STEAM House Cafés in Norfolk and Waveney.

“We purposely chose highly visible town centre premises because it is easily accessible to those seeking support and guidance.

“Everybody should feel comfortable talking about mental health. 

“By taking that important message directly to the high street and supporting the local community with a range of support and drop in therapies, we have made it easier for people to ask for advice or assistance in a relaxed environment, accompanied by a coffee and bite to eat.”

The STEAM house cafés are just one example of how the Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care system is working together to provide help, advice, care and treatment to support people with their mental health. Working together with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), the system is determined to ensure that people in Norfolk and Waveney have timely, friendly and appropriate access to services that can support people in times of need, helping to prevent people from experiencing mental health crisis.

Dr Ardyn Ross, local GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead for NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “The STEAM house cafés are a fantastic example of joint working to provide holistic mental health services in our local communities.

“It’s testament to the collaborative working of Access Community Trust, NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG and other organisations supporting this new, excellent initiative that is helping us to care for people, closer to home. Quite often, many people think that treatment and care should be provided in health or clinical setting; the STEAM house cafés clearly demonstrate that this is not always the case. It allows people to seek help at an early stage and to receive support for other issues that are having an impact on their mental health.

“The Sanctuary element of the cafe allows people to receive support when they are in distress with space to share their worries in a safe and confidential environment.

“I look forward to seeing this offer go from strength to strength as we work, as one collective of organisations to provide more excellent services for people in their own communities.”

Cath Byford, Deputy Chief Executive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a fantastic example of services that are available for people to use to support people with their mental wellbeing. This is a creative way to improve people’s lives.”

Visit one of the cafés this #MentalHealthAwareness week!

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