A brilliant way to get people talking about mental health. Because it really is ok, to not be ok.
M&S have launched a new initiative called Frazzled Cafe in partnership with author, comedian, and mental health awareness campaigner Ruby Wax.
Ruby Wax wrote in her blog post about the launch of Frazzled Cafe:
“We live in a time where to have a life crammed to the hilt is considered a success story. But with all this pressure, so many of us have no-where to go to meet and talk about it.”
Because of the lack of opportunities to openly discuss mental health without facing social stigma, many people don’t discuss their problems at all. Consequently, it becomes very easy for stress to build up and take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing.
But being able to talk about your mental health is important.
Just opening up to someone about what you’re going through can be a really effective way of managing daily stress.
“Feeling heard, to me, has always been half the cure,” Ruby wrote.
Yet, talking about mental health issues and opening up about how you’re really feeling can be difficult. It can be hard to admit that you’re not okay, and to ask for support when you’re feeling this way.
The Frazzled Cafe is an attempt to make that a little easier. “It’s ok, to not be ok,” their tagline reassures.
The initiative will operate in the form of fortnightly sessions held after hours at M&S cafes across the country, Metro reports. Essentially, it will provide a safe space where people who are feeling run down and stressed can talk about what’s happening in their lives and minds.
The aim is to create a free and accessible platform where anyone who needs to talk about mental health issues can do so.
“That experience of meeting face to face is important,” Ruby emphasised.
“With our mental health services stretched to breaking point it can be hard to see a therapist on the NHS. Many people simply don’t believe they can go to talk, to get affordable help.”
Frazzled Cafe will not be a replacement for therapy or medication. But it will be a safe, non-judgmental, and anonymous environment for people to open up about what they’re feeling.
A place “where people have a chance to talk honestly without feeling stigmatised, self-indulgent or weak.”
Sessions will be non-profit, run by volunteer “facilitators”. And the Frazzled Café will soon be a registered charity.
Initially Frazzled Cafe meetings will be held across 11 M&S stores over the next few months. Locations include London, Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury, and Norwich.
M&S will add new locations throughout the year.
“Frazzled Cafe is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result.”
“Because, while there many not be a single solution to the stress of modern life, to be able to look each other in the eye and say, yes, I know how you feel and its OK is at least a start.”
If you want to learn more about Frazzled Cafe meetings, sign up to the mailing list here.