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Pop the Kettle on, Let’s Talk: Tackling the stigma around mental health, one brew at a time.

Illustration: Maisy Summer

Talking about your mental health can seem intimidating; vulnerability and a fear of judgement are menacing enough to prevent anyone from opening up about their feelings, especially if they’ve never talked about them before. There’s no better way to talk about your feelings than over a cuppa, and that’s where Ground Up Coffee Co. steps in. With the aim to break down mental health stigma by offering support over one shared brew at a time, Ground Up is a safe space to open up about your mental health.

Situated in the Corn Exchange, the not-for-profit cafe is just an ideal coffee spot at first glance. Yet, the aim behind the project is to encourage people who are struggling with their mental health to talk about what’s on their mind. Whether you need to express your feelings to a kind and understanding stranger, or just need a quiet break around some friendly faces, Ground Up is the place to visit.

Everyday life has a big impact on our mental health: approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year (Mind). It is also important to recognise that cultural and religious ideals play a large role in individuals avoiding talking about their problems. Due to a range of factors, such as discrimination and inequalities, those who are unemployed or identify as LGBTQI+ or BAME are particularly susceptible to mental health issues and are less likely to seek help. Within the LGBTQI+ community, people can be at a higher risk of experiencing a mental health problem than the wider population. Stonewall found that 52% of LGBTQI+ people experienced depression in the past year, with one in seven LGBTQI+ people (14%) avoiding professional help for fear of discrimination from staff. Meanwhile, people from BAME backgrounds are more likely to hesitate seeking help (Mind), while asylum seekers and refugees are more likely to experience higher rates of depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders (Independent) and don’t always have access to professional help.

These statistics show that it is important for a society to talk about mental health. Through conversation, empathy and understanding, mental health issues are normalised and, for some, diminished. If you feel that a conversation will help with what’s on your mind, pop in for a brew at Ground Up or pop the kettle on with an understanding loved one.

For more help and information on recognising and coping with mental health issues,


Meg Firth

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