Mind has launched their Time to Change campaign to tackle mental health stigma in Northamptonshire by holding a pop-up cafe in Kettering.
The campaign is being run to encourage people to change the way they think about mental health and tackle social stigma around mental health.
Steph Orr, the hub coordinator of Time to Change for Kettering Mind in Russell Street, said: "The campaign is about starting conversations to reduce stigma around mental health."
She said many people who have suffered from mental illness found the stigma and reactions to their mental health worse than their actual symptoms.
The pop-up cafe was well attended with people dropping in for free tea or coffee and cake and biscuits.
Kettering mayor Keli Watts, who has been a trustee of Kettering Mind for about six years, also dropped in.
She said: "It's really well attended, most of what they do is well attended because they do a good job of promoting things.
"This is the thing about Mind, if you go into their Russell Street centre, there's always classes and courses and they have a great little cafe that nobody knows about. It's a wonderful atmosphere of support and care."
Rak Nathwani, 50 and from Corby, is a Mind Time to Change Champion, people who open up about their own experiences with mental health or caring for people.
Rak said: "I have worked in the crisis cafe in Corby at Mind for a few years. We speak to lots of people with their own mental health problems. We help them to see perhaps different options, different ways of seeing things."
Rak said people need to be encouraged to speak to others when they need help, otherwise no one can help them.
Andy, who said a few words at the launch, described his own long-term mental health issues and the stigma he had faced from his family, colleagues and others. Andy said he thought the champions were really important because it gives volunteers the perspective of lived experience and helps support those struggling.
He said: "Support them, validate them, give them hope, that encouragement to carry on. Recovery is possible."
As well as enabling people to open up, Time to Change is encouraging people to start asking others how they are to try and start conversations about mental health.
The pop-up cafe was offering free tea and coffee as well as a selection of cake and biscuits. There was also badge making with a selection of Time to Change logos to choose from and there was mindfulness colouring-in and card games, as Steph said people sometimes find it easier to talk while they are also doing something else.
Enjoying the open coffee morning was Marianne Siever, 71, with Marcia, 54, an NCC locality connector for Kettering and Corby.
Both women are Mind Champions and Marianne said Mind had helped her a lot when she was suffering from psychosis, which she said was very scary.
Marianne said: "I have committed myself to stay with it [as a Mind champion] and I have had a lot of help from it myself.
"People can come back from it, I am one of them.
"It's easy to feel hopeless. I made a full recovery about two years ago now."
Marcia became involved in Mind after coming across the charity through her work, she said: "I thought, 'what a lovely organisation to be part of,' and that is the reason I got involved.
"It's good to listen to others and find out how they are feeling, it could make such a big difference."
Kizzy Minter, engagement officer at Teamwork Trust and Time to Change hub coordinator alongside Mind’s Steph Orr, said: “We are thrilled with how many people came along to the launch as this whole initiative is about leading mental health organisations and people in the community coming together to drive change.
As part of the Time to Change hub, our new team of champions will undergo various training so that they are confident to create conversations in the community and challenge people to reduce stigma and discrimination around mental health. We want more people talking about these issues so that people are no longer afraid.”
The pop-up cafe is running until 3.30pm today at 48 High Street, Kettering.
You can find more contact details for local branches of Mind and their infoline here.