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King's Lynn cafe bids to 'reduce stigma of mental health'

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Reducing the stigma of mental health is one of the aims of a new cafe in Lynn, staff said.

As well as the cafe facilities there are daytime and evening groups at the Steam House Cafe on the High Street, plus one-to-one sessions.

They receive clients from various organisations, offering a wide range of support and therapies for adults experiencing mental health crisis since November at the site of the former Thomas Cook shop.

Steam House Cafe.
Steam House Cafe.

Supported by Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, some 10 staff plus volunteers provide advice and assistance seven days a week.

Cafe manager Gemma Bush said its sheer visibility on the high street helps: “We are on the high street so people can just come in.

“Although there is no obvious gender split between people who visit, mental health in general remains an issue that males find it tough to talk about and that is something Steam House is trying to address.

“We're starting groups specifically for men. All the staff are very relatable. There is no clinical setting around you.

“People are usually put off going to a GP because of the stigma. We're quite well established now.”

All ages are affected and staff said a couple of men in their 50s are among their clients.

Her colleague Jacqui Reddy said the cafe setting reduces the stigma of mental health problems “because of the environment of it,” adding of employers Access Community Trust: “They're a good company to work for because they take good care of their staff.”

This is the second cafe after one in Gorleston opened by Access Community Trust (ACT) who business consultants Best Companies crowned the second best charity to work for in the UK recently.

Steam stands for support, transform, eat, aspire and motivate.

The usual opening hours are around 11am to 5pm, while more information on what services ACT provides can be obtained at https://www.accessct.org/adult-services/

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