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Dartford community cafe launch coincides with Suicide Prevention Week

A community cafe where people can come in for a cup of tea and chat about their mental health launched this week.

The opening of the new pop up cafe in the Orchard Shopping Centre, Dartford on Monday coincides with Suicide Prevention Week.

The community cafe in Dartford provides a safe space for people to discuss their mental health.
The community cafe in Dartford provides a safe space for people to discuss their mental health.

The safe space will provide an informal environment in which people can share any aspect of their mental health they are struggling with.

It will be located opposite the Boots pharmacy in the shopping centre every Monday between 3 and 6pm.

A range of teas, coffees and cakes will be available for purchase as well as free activities including table tennis, books and crafts.

Next week the cafe is hoping to get some volunteers in from Centrepieces, a mental health project which runs art therapy sessions encompassing everything from sculpture and painting to mask making and photography.

There will also be talks in the coming weeks from a nurse and clinical professionals on topics including coping with anxiety and suicide prevention.

The number of recorded suicides rose last year in Kent (16322229)
The number of recorded suicides rose last year in Kent (16322229)

Around 15 people attended the grand opening but Tricia Green, who works for Kent Health Needs Education Services and is responsible for running the cafe hopes it will grow in popularity and become self-sustainable in the future.

She said: "The opening saw mostly elderly residents and people suffering from bereavement. We had an elderly man who said he was really struggling since his wife died.

"We are not a clinical service though so if someone is really suffering we must be able to refer them to somewhere."

The space inside the shopping centre where the cafe is held has been provided free of charge by Dartford council, something Tricia and the other volunteers are appreciative of.

"It's good to have something there doing good rather than just another empty shop front," she added.

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