Crisis cafes are being launched in Luton and Bedford to provide support and a safe place for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis

The cafes will be run by Mind BLMK on behalf of East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), which provides mental health care across Bedfordshire and Luton.

The new service will offer free help and advice for anyone over the age of 18.

The Luton crisis café will be at Mind BLMK’s site in Dumfries Street, its doors open on Wednesday, February 19, and run from 5pm till 11pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays before progressing to seven days a week.

The Bedford café will open at Florence Ball House on Bedford Health Village, Kimbolton Road, on Thursday, February 20, and run from 5pm till 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, before also progressing to seven days a week.

There is no need to call and book an appointment, simply drop in to one of the cafes to receive support.

Dr Angharad Ruttley, the Trust’s Clinical Director for Crisis Care in Bedfordshire and Luton, said:

“This is all about building a responsive mental health crisis support network shaped with the input of healthcare professionals, service users and other members of the public.”

The cafes will be run by recovery workers, coordinators, peer support workers (PSWs) and volunteers trained to offer coping mechanisms and management techniques to help people work through their crisis.

The teams will also be able to refer and direct people to further services if required.

The cafes were identified as the preferred support option during a round of public focus groups held to shape a new 24-hour extended mental health crisis care across Luton and Bedfordshire.

The Trust and Mind BLMK are working together to develop an enhanced crisis care service that provides an accessible, service user focused response for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

ELFT’s Crisis Resolution/Home Treatment Teams across Bedfordshire and Luton have also increased their service hours and are due to start accepting self-referrals from the public.