Tunbridge Wells café will be ‘listening ear’ for mental health
by Andy Tong | 14th February 2019
A NEW café has opened in Tunbridge Wells to provide a ‘listening ear’ and combat the stigma of talking about mental health.
The Kitchen Table at No 19 Camden Road is open to the public but is also looking to reach out to vulnerable members of society.
Local charity Crossways Community launched the initiative on February 7 to coincide with Time To Talk About Mental Health Day.
It hopes to provide early and accessible help, information, and support for families and the wider community.
According to the Kent Mental Health Needs Assessment in 2014, West Kent has the highest prevalence of neurotic disorder, depression and anxiety in the county.
The report found that more than 44,000 people in the region have ‘common’ mental health problems such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression and stress.
The caseload has put huge pressure on local mental health services and the café will offer an alternative means of support.
'There are high levels of health inequalities, depression and anxiety due to stigma, discrimination and poor access to services'
Chris Munday, Chief Executive of Crossways Community, said: “West Kent is one of the most affluent areas in the county of Kent. It can be easy to overlook areas of relative deprivation and communities that are marginalised.
“There are high levels of health inequalities, depression and anxiety due to stigma, discrimination and poor access to services.”
The Kitchen Table offers a relaxed and informal environment, reaching out to people who are ‘too embarrassed or unsure to ask for formal help on mental health issues’.
It will also signpost local churches, mental health professionals, GP surgeries, counselling services and NHS online counselling.
Mr Munday added: “Every year, in an average group of 100 people 25 will suffer with at least one diagnosable mental illness.
'Stigma and hostility towards people with mental illness is still prevalent, preventing many people seeking help'
“Stigma and hostility towards people with mental illness is still prevalent, preventing many people seeking help and making those suffering more vulnerable.
“Our café will be a place where it’s OK not to be OK, and a place where, if you want to chat, there will always be a listening ear.”
The Kitchen Table will be open from 9am to 4pm from Thursday to Saturday.
Established in 1967, Crossways provides residential and supported living accommodation for adults with mental health issues in West Kent.
The Christian charity receives referrals from partner agencies such as West Kent Mind, Kent Police and West Kent Action Board.
For information, visit crosswayscommunity.co.uk