M&S is launching cafes where people can chat about mental health

(Published on 16/03/2017)

Whether you have a mental illness or are just feeling a little stressed, you should be talking about mental health. Because it’s just as important as physical health.

It’s powerful to talk about how you’re feeling, to ask for support when you’re going through something tough.

But it can be hard to reach out, be brave, and admit that you’re not okay.

Marks & Spencer’s new initiative is an attempt to make that a little easier.

In partnership with author, comedian, and mental health awareness campaigner Ruby Wax, M&S have launched a new fortnightly event called Frazzled Cafe.

Essentially, these will be fortnightly sessions held after hours at M&S cafes, where people who are feeling stressed and down can meet up to chat about what’s happening in their life and in their mind in a safe, anonymous, and non-judgmental environment.

They’re not supposed to be a replacement for therapy or medication, but a free, accessible way for anyone who needs to talk about mental health to do so.

Each session will be led by volunteer facilitators to keep the chats running smoothly.

The point of the cafes? To provide spaces where it’s okay to admit that you’re not okay.

They’re not for profit, and the Frazzled Cafe will soon be a registered charity.

To start with, 11 M&S stores will be hosting Frazzled Cafe meetings over the next few months, with locations in London, Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury, and Norwich.

M&S will be adding new locations throughout the year.

‘We live in a time where to have a life crammed to the hilt is considered a success story,’ said Ruby Wax. ‘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.’

If you’d like to learn more about Frazzled Cafe or find out when a meeting will take place near you, you can sign up to the mailing list here.