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TV show highlights the vital work of cafe counsellors

By Eleanor Perkins

BBC journalist and Inside Out producer Sarah Brinicombe has been following the work of Deal Wellbeing Cafe located within the Landmark Centre since it opened in May.

During an episode of the BBC1 programme tonight, viewers will be able to catch a glimpse of some of the work that goes on behind the doors of the cafe, such as free counselling sessions run by trained counsellor Liz Ryan.

Michelle Parry with trained counsellor Liz Ryan

Michelle Parry with trained counsellor Liz Ryan

Ms Brinicombe said: “Normally this kind of counselling session is private and confidential but the wellbeing cafe were kind enough to allow us to film what happens, to demonstrate how they attempt to help people with mental health problems.

“It was very touching to see how much support people within the group were happy to give each other, especially since only weeks earlier they were perfect strangers.”

The programme centres on two stories. The first is that of retired coach driver Brian McInnes whose wife of 25 years, Sue, died in July last year.

Brian McInnes discusses his grief since losing his wife of 25 years

Brian McInnes discusses his grief since losing his wife of 25 years

He went to the door of the wellbeing cafe three times before he found the courage to walk in, but once he went through the door he felt so much better.

He said: “I was very depressed after my wife passed away.

“I’m hearing other people’s problems and I’m talking about my problems, it’s helping with my stress levels and anxieties and it’s given me relief because I bottled everything up. It’s helped me tremendously and it’s something I look forward to.”

The documentary also features Michelle Parry, the mother of Robert Fraser, a keen skateboarder who died after an unintentional overdose of strong pain killer Fentanyl.

Ms Parry discusses how visiting the cafe has helped her.

She said: “You walk out of there and you feel that the world is a nice place, it’s not that horrible dark place that it was this morning.”

Tracy Carr and the wellbeing cafe which she founded will feature in a TV documentary tonight

Tracy Carr and the wellbeing cafe which she founded will feature in a TV documentary tonight

Former Deal mayoress Tracy Carr and her Talk It Out support group featured on Inside Out in January before funding for the cafe was secured. At the time they discussed the poor state of mental health services in Deal.

She told KentOnline: “We’re been working for so many years to try and improve the system.

“It’s surreal that we’ve got this wellbeing cafe now and that I’m able to watch people grow and feel more confident.”

She says more and more users are just walking into the cafe from the street and new members are always welcome.

Anyone who is uncertain and would like to call Tracy for advice before attending, can ring her on 07923 096273.

The programme is part of the Inside Out series on Monday, at 7.30pm on BBC 1 in the South East.


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