28 Sept 2022

Crisis Café – a calming port in stormy weather

Photos by Harry Reid

Crisis Café – a calming port in stormy weather

Fergus Horgan, Malcolm Noonan TD, Siobhan Donohoe, Trish Finegan and Anne Buggy. (Photo by Harry Reid)

It’s stormy times as we enter the unknown and we need to be mindful of one another. Mental ill-health affects us all at some stage in our lives and it is important to remember that and be kind to those in distress.

On Tuesday, I was at the launch of the Feasibility Study for an Out of Hours Crisis Café in Kilkenny. Commissioned by Lifelinkk, it’s a study undertaken by Workhouse Union and financed by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership.

The Crisis Café Kilkenny Feasibility Study explores aspects of developing a self-referral, non-clinical out of hour’s services and support for people presenting with a mental health crisis in Kilkenny.

What defines a Crisis?

According to the feasibility study, a mental health crisis is described as feeling unable to cope or control a situation. In times of crisis, people need empathy, support, social interaction, a warm welcome and help.

Deputy Malcolm Noonan, Trish Finegan of Lifelinkk & Siobhan Donohoe

Deputy Malcolm Noonan, attended the launch in the capacity of his first official engagement as our new TD. He was delighted to officially launch the publication, especially with his back history in helping with mental health initiatives. As one of the founding members of Lifelinkk, Noonan said “with this virus, we need to be mindful that self-isolation is going to be challenging on our mental health. We have to watch out for each other over the next couple of months and be careful of all the noise that is out there.”

Where did the idea of the Crisis Café come from? The motivation to explore the crisis café model was in response to the high demand on current services, the inadequate out of hours support and the negative experiences encountered by people accessing mental health supports through A&E.

Dr. Mike Watts

Dr. Mike Watts who came up with the idea of the crisis café said at the launch, “I want this Café to become a port in stormy weather. I hope Kilkenny will eventually become like Finland and Norway where no medication is used for mental health”.

Watched by the assembled guests in Rothe House, Liam from the Rhyme Rag Ensemble gave a presentation

In addition to the speakers, there was also moments of music and poetry. According to Trish Finegan of Lifelinkk “it is also important when launching something as serious as the report to lighten the event a little, so we included the music and the poetry to lift the spirits and remind ourselves that life is for living. Through collaboration we can make the lives of those who are struggling a little better.

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