A unique café has opened in Fitzroy catering specifically for people seeking mental health support. The Safe Haven Café is an after-hours drop in centre at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Located in the Hospital Art Gallery, the Safe Haven Café is open Friday 6-8pm, and 2-8pm Saturday and Sunday. It provides a safe, therapeutic space to support and empower people looking for assistance, but not needing acute care.
Along with tea and coffee, the Safe Haven Café has peer support workers and volunteers with a lived experience of mental health issues, who will work alongside mental health professionals to provide a safe, therapeutic space for people needing it.
The Safe Haven Café doesn’t replace clinical mental health interventions, but enables people to explore what options may be available to support them, and identify relevant local services.
The Café provides the opportunity for people to learn about their own response to crises and to develop self-management skills to help them to maintain their mental health on an ongoing basis. It also welcomes people who would simply like to pop in for a cuppa.
“Navigating the mental health system in times of crisis is a real challenge for consumers and their loved-ones. People often don’t know where to go, and can end up in the wrong places” said Jenelle Linton, General Manager Mental Health, St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne.
“Funded by Better Care Victoria, the Safe Haven Café is an investment in alternative means of supporting people with mental health issues, and empowering them to have more control over their wellbeing” Ms Linton said.
The Safe Haven Café is modelled on a successful service operating in Hampshire, U.K. since 2014. It has been shown to reduce social isolation for vulnerable people and to help them to maintain their mental health on an ongoing basis.