Mental Health Cafe is a monthly community conversation on radical mental health, focusing on informal discussions and friendly mutual aid in a welcoming space for all.
What is mutual aid? Mutual aid is the voluntary, reciprocal exchange of resources, ideas, and support for the mutual benefit of all individuals involved, without power dynamics or labels (similar to a conversation with a friend). This is different than going to a therapy session, where a mental health professional provides one-way treatment to a client from a position of authority. Mutual aid is not meant to be a substitute for professional mental health treatment, and we do not have mental health professionals present in this capacity at our events.
So, what happens at a Mental Health Cafe? When you enter the space, you will be greeted by a team member and offered a Color Communication Badge (a badge designed by the Autistic community that quickly and non-verbally displays communication preferences). We often provide free refreshments (coffee, tea, water / cookies, or other snacks), which will be available in the space as you arrive. After casual conversation for around 15 minutes, we will start to have an informal group conversation. Anyone in the group is welcome to do a "mental health check-in," discuss something important to them, ask for or share resources, vent, or ask for advice. Sometimes we have an activity planned, like a potluck, a film screening, or another social event (to be communicated ahead of time).
Important Notes: Mental Health Cafe is a space for peers and allies to have open conversations that represent a wide variety of opinions and beliefs, some of which everyone may not agree with. As a community, we expect everyone to hold respectful conversations. Anyone who attacks, harasses, or discriminates against another community member will be asked to leave and will be potentially banned from future events. As a space, we prioritize and center the voices of people with lived experience (of madness, trauma, mental illness, substance use / addiction, or another similar experience) and those from marginalized communities. Others are welcome to participate in our spaces, as long as they are respectful and follow our Radical Mental Health community guidelines.
Mental Health Cafe @ Please Try This At Home
Saturday, September 14th from 4:00 - 5:00pm at Persad Center
October Mental Health Cafe
TBD at Code & Supply (Friendship)
If you cannot find the group or are nervous/anxious upon arriving, please private message our Facebook page or send a message to the Inside Our Minds text line: (412) 438-3278.
Our new home for Mental Health Cafe is at Code & Supply in Friendship! While we will still be bringing Mental Health Cafe to local coffee shops and event spaces, having a home base will help our organizers overall have more energy and spoons. Interested in hosting a Mental Health Cafe at your coffee shop, event, or space? Send us a message!
The entrance for Code & Supply is located in the back of the building, in the designed parking lot. Turn onto Stamar Way from Friendship Avenue to find the parking lot. Follow the ramp to the doorway to enter. If the door is locked, you can buzz in by pressing the button labeled "Code & Supply Co." Follow signs to take the elevator up to the 3rd floor. Signs will guide you to the event space.
Code & Supply is wheelchair accessible through the Stamar Way entrance. There is an all gender, ADA bathroom in the facility. The Inside Our Minds staff will have earplugs and stim toys on hand for anyone who would like them. We also utilize a colored name tag system to display social interaction preferences (originally from the Autistic community).