created by Bev Woolmer, AWP published on 08 May 2017

This week is Mental Health Week, and the theme this year is 'Surviving or Thriving? The state of the UK's mental health'.

We asked Bev Woolmer, Service User Involvement Co-Ordinator at AWP, for her thoughts on this topic, and to tell us more about the Conversation Cafés she has set up.

"To thrive and survive mental health issues is a very personal experience; it is very much an individual human journey, as unique as the person affected. We all have mental health in the same way that we all have physical health, with one in four us experiencing a mental health difficulty at some point in our lives, it is a common issue.

"As an Involvement Coordinator for AWP & part of Bristol Mental Health, I’m often supporting service users in group settings and with various pieces of co-production project work, whilst this is great it was felt that we needed something much more informal and with more of a social focus.

"Café culture is part of our modern life, it is a normal thing to do, to meet a friend and have a coffee, so having the opportunity to develop and set up the Conversation Cafés has been a huge privilege.

"The Conversation Cafés are an opportunity to be able to thrive; the café is all about a very informal space which provides a warm welcome, a friendly face to greet people, a free tea or coffee, and the chance to meet others.

"Mental health isn’t the main topic of conversation, the café doesn’t have a set agenda, random conversations happen and there is always light hearted moments and laughter.

"The café is a drop-in event; you can just turn up, have a cuppa, sit quietly or join in the natter. New faces are always welcome!"

The next conversation café is on: Friday 2nd June 2017, 2-3.30pm at Dom’s Café, 23 -25 St Augustine’s Parade, BS1 4UL … near the Hippodrome.

For more information about Mental Health Week visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

You will find a lot of information, links and downloads in Well Aware's mental health information and resources area. Click here to access this area.

To search the Well Aware database for mental health organisations, services and groups, please click here.

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