Cafe customers take up mental health help

A photo of a group of friends sitting inside the Grounded cafe chatting and socialising
Grounded cafe promotes mental wellbeing and community

Some of the first customers of a new mental health cafe in Birmingham say they are delighted to be able to access support without the "big waiting list".

Alongside hot drinks and snacks, the Grounded cafe has mental health trained staff available to talk to people.

The project, backed with £450,000 funding from the NHS, is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The team behind it said they were attempting to remove the stigma around talking about mental health.

The Selly oak cafe, which opened last month, is a partnership between the Living Well Consortium and Birmingham Mind charity.

A barista at Grounded cafe prepares a hot drink
It is hoped that the cafe can support students, among others, who make up about a third of the local population

It is hoped it can particularly help students, who make up almost a third of the local population.

According to the student help support line Nightline, there has been a 51.4% increase in calls since 2020.

The services offered by the cafe staff, however, are not limited to students.

"You don't know how happy I am [to have] found somewhere like this," one local woman said.

"I am able to access therapy. I am going to see a therapist in a week, there's no big waiting list."

Two students work on laptops and notebooks at the Grounded cafe
The cafe also hopes to be popular with those just wanting a hot drink and a chat

Staff said anyone could "walk in and talk to somebody" or "be signposted to the right mental health support".

The cafe also offers "wellbeing workshops" including sessions focusing on fitness or mindfulness, as well as yoga.

Local Selly Oak residents take part in the workshops Grounded cafe offer
Local Selly Oak residents take part in the workshops Grounded cafe offer

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, X and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: