The project ‘Auricle’ aims to tackle this issue by creating an emotionally supportive environment by setting up a mental health café on or off campus where individuals can receive emotional support in an informal environment. This café will feature volunteers studying a counselling/psychotherapy/psychology related course and will be trained to provide support through active listening, signposting in a non-judgemental, supportive environment.
We are also collaborating with the Psychology society at Teesside university on this. Customers will be able to order a coffee and snacks via an app and have the possibility to also ask for a buddy through the app (who will be a counselling volunteer). This aims to address the discomfort that people feel in accessing a mental health service. By visiting this café people will also feel less stigmatized.
Additionally, we will be providing self-report inventories through the app so beneficiaries can monitor their progress on the wellbeing scale so which will also allow us to measure the empowerment and impact the project is having.