Approximately one in five adults in the United States suffers from a mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. That’s 43.8 million people who potentially face a stigma against mental health that might prevent them from talking freely about their experience. In the United Kingdom, one grocery store aims to change that and hopes to provide a space for people to get together and talk about mental health.
British grocer Marks & Spencer has teamed up with comedian and mental health advocate Ruby Wax to launch “Frazzled Cafes,” which will host sessions on a regular basis at pre-existing grocery spaces, according to the organization’s website.
The talk sessions will take place at M&S Cafes during after hours, with each one being led by a trained volunteer, according to the press release.
“With all this pressure, so many of us have nowhere to go to meet and talk about it,” Wax said in a statement. “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.”
Eleven M&S stores will host Frazzled Cafe meetings during the next few months, including three locations in London along with Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury, and Norwich. The grocer says that more locations will be added throughout the year.
The organization says that it has been running pilots and focus groups since last May in two groups in London and Brighton, which have served as a model for the regional launch.