“Our goal is to provide easily accessible mental health support.”
Karen says she has a passion for empowering people and her role at Jami enables her to do just that. As the facilitator of various groups that take place every weekday at our Head Room Café in Golders Green or online, Karen meets a range of people in the community looking for support, opportunities to socialise or to just feel some connection with others.
She explains: “One of the ultimate things we do at the café is reduce isolation and loneliness by bringing people together and giving them a sense of purpose. We’re about building connections and relationships. Our goal is to take mental health support out of a clinical setting and move it to somewhere easily accessible, regardless of where someone is with their mental health. Some people may be customers who are just walking in off the street. Others may already be using Jami’s services. We’re completely inclusive.”
Mental health support on the high street
Being based on the high street means that the activities offered at the café – be it the peer support and community walking groups or the Kind Coworking and Coffee & Connect sessions, for example – can be accessed by anyone. As Karen comments: “It’s a very informal setting and normalises that we all have mental health, although where each of us are on the mental health spectrum may vary.”
The different sessions currently available at the café have been created in response to the needs of the people who go there. “We are running a survey to find out what the community wants and to make sure that this is what we are providing,” confirms Karen.
All the sessions are led by a member of Jami’s professional staff, but there is a team of volunteers to support them, some of whom started off as participants themselves. “This process is often quite organic,” says Karen. For example, one former group attendee is now helping to facilitate Creativity4All, a group which meets every Monday to enable people to explore their artistic and writing skills with others.
Expanding the Café’s support
Karen’s goal, together with the rest of the Head Room Café team, is to build a community around what Jami does and to develop new groups for people to attend, because they’re proving such a success. “We’re seeing people creating friendships through the groups and doing things outside of the café together,” she says. “The fact that some people come to everything we offer also shows that they’re getting something from our sessions.”