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One of the main issues surrounding mental health is the lack of conversation. Mental illness is still a massively taboo subject and we'll only start to make inroads into the problem by speaking up and getting people talking.
Comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax has teamed up with Marks and Spencer to launch Frazzled Café, a new initiative which will help to get the conversation going around mental health.
The events will run in 11 shops, after hours, and will take place fortnightly to be begin with. The 'talk-in' sessions will be led by trained volunteers
London will receive three spaces, and Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury and Norwich will all welcome their own safe spaces, with more expected to open across the UK over the course of the year.
Opening @frazzledcafe Over happy at Olympia pic.twitter.com/elwlWjvsU0
- Ruby Wax (@Rubywax) March 14, 2017
Speaking ahead of the launch, Ruby said: "There is a pressing need for both identifying ways to help people cope with overwhelming stress and reducing the stigma that is attached to discussing mental health.
"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 nowhere to go to meet and talk about it. Frazzled Cafe is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result.
"Feeling heard, to me, has always been half the cure."
The sessions will attempt to get those feeling the stress of everyday life to come in and talk about their day.
The campaign says: "Frazzled Cafe is not just for the one-in-four of us who will suffer from mental illness at some point in our lives; it is for the four-in-four feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life.
"Frazzled Cafe provides a safe, anonymous and non-judgemental environment where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories."
Of course, the organisers are quick to point out that the sessions are not an alternative to therapy and those who have been diagnosed with a mental health problem should talk to a professional before attending. However, they're hopeful that the events will see many positive conversations about mental health, which can only be a good thing.
If you're interested in attending a Frazzled Café near you, you can sign up here.
If you're struggling, get in touch with The CALMzone, which offers amazing support to anyone when things get tough.
The helpline and web chat service are open 5pm to midnight, every day of the year. Nationwide: 0800 58 58 58; London: 0808 802 58; Webchat: www.thecalmzone.net/get-help.
You can contact the Samaritans on a Freephone number - 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected]
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