‘Mental health is health’ should be a phrase we all know and understand these days: looking after our mind is just as important as looking after our body. But the ‘how’ is not always as easy as the ‘what’. But a new wellbeing cafe, opening in Selly Oak, aims to tackle growing mental health concerns in Birmingham.
Two of Birmingham’s leading mental health organisations – Living Well UK and Birmingham Mind – have joined forces for this first-of-its-kind cafe. grounded., described as Birmingham’s first wellbeing cafe, will officially open its doors this September (with more sites to follow). Thanks to funding from NHS England, it is taking over a former GP surgery to offer visitors a place to relax, recover, and recoup over a coffee.
With a host of community events, workshops, as well as group and one-to-one therapies also available, grounded. aims to become a vital hub for Selly Oak. The area is home to over 25,000 residents – of which nearly a third are studying at the University of Birmingham. Student support helpline, Nightline, reported a 51.4% increase in calls since 2020, highlighting a clear need for more mental health support services like this cafe.
“In the midst of a mental health crisis, both locally and across the UK, grounded. presents an opportunity to bring much-needed support to local communities. We’ve been honoured to help bring grounded. to life, and the entire team behind its development has been fantastic,” said Ben Howells, Chief Executive Officer at Living Well UK.
“With the financial support of NHS England, we’ve been able to transform what was once a GP surgery into a hub for the diverse community in Selly Oak and the wider South-West Birmingham area. The team on site will be working hard to deliver accessible mental health support for those who need it and a warm, welcoming space for those who just want to come by for a cup of coffee.”
Open Monday to Friday, the former GP site has been transformed into a calming space. It will be operated by Evolve; a social enterprise that provides job opportunities and training for those who have faced barriers to employment. Living Well UK and Birmingham Mind already provide extensive free mental health support across Birmingham and Solihull, including a 24/7 helpline, crisis cafés, and tailored practitioner-led programmes.
Helen Wadley, the CEO at Birmingham Mind, adds: “With continued strain on mental health services across the UK due to changes in funding, delegation, and protocol, grounded. marks a step forward in giving communities access to crucial mental health support – whether that’s a 1-to-1 chat in a therapy room or a moment of mindfulness with a coffee.
“Naturally, grounded. will welcome the large student community in Selly Oak, but it’s also a space for anyone to stop by and make use of the wonderful programme of events and workshops, supported by dedicated and trained mental health practitioners on-site. We’re also delighted to be able to use grounded. as Birmingham Mind’s Talking Space to offer a safe welcoming place where the community can visit outside of opening hours for mental health support.”
To find out more about grounded. head here