HSE-funded Solace Café to aid mental health sufferers

At the official opening of the Solace Café in Cork city earlier this week, were Dr. Amir Niazi, National Clinical Adviser and Group Lead for Mental Health; Minister Mary Butler; Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Kieran McCarthy; Breda Richardson, Operational Manager Solace Café and Mr. James Creasey, Occupational Therapist Manager. (Pic: Gerard McCarthy)

A HSE-funded out-of-hours support service for those experiencing mental health difficulties was opened in Cork city centre on Monday by Minister Mary Butler, TD.

The Solace café, located at 22 Sullivan’s Quay is for the benefit of individuals who experience a mental health crisis. This often happens outside of the regular working hours of 9-5 so now, Solace Café provides a safe and welcoming service for adults who need help and support when facing mental health difficulties or distress.

This service operates during evenings and weekends in a non-clinical environment. It is designed to provide social, peer, crisis and recovery-based support services to those in need.

Minister Mary Butler TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, said the service is an important part in providing an out-of-hours service for people experiencing mental health difficulties and to also provide support to the families of those in crisis. This is the first of five planned crisis resolution service cafes in Ireland, to open.”

A collaboration between the HSE and Cork Mental Health Foundation, this ‘Model of Care for Crisis Resolution Services’ arose from the recognition that those experiencing mental health crisis require specialist services to provide brief, person-centred, intensive supports in a timely way to assist the person in their recovery journey and to seek to offer an alternative response to inpatient admission, where appropriate.

Tess O’Donovan, Chief Officer for Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said the café, situated in the ‘Next Step’ building at 22 Sullivan’s Quay in Cork city centre, is designed to serve as a secure haven for individuals seeking support, with the goal of avoiding crisis and reducing the need for hospitalisation.

Julie O’Neill, Head of Mental Health Services, Cork Kerry Community Healthcare, said working in collaboration with the Cork Mental Health Foundation has been ‘a wonderful experience’.

“We feel privileged to work with this foundation and support this amazing initiative that is imperative for individuals with mental health difficulties and their families. This partnership is a shining example of the innovative model of care for crisis resolution services.”