Actor Will Poulter attended Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing and Hounslow’s Mind Circle cafe’s one year anniversary in Ealing last week.
The Circle Cafe is a hub space offering support for young people suffering with their mental health in Ealing who are near crisis point.
Will, an ambassador for The Circle, attended the event and hosted a roundtable alongside Nana Owusu, Director of Youth Services and Clinical Lead.
He said: “I’m so happy this space exists and really excited about the many ways the Circle can expand its services and locations.
“I want to see more of these because of the lives we are saving, and the work being carried out here is lifesaving.”
The event marked a year since opening the Circle, celebrating its success and discussing its future.
Owusu stated, “I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved in such a short space of time here at the Circle.
“We are a vital part of wrap-around care and together we will continue to destigmatize mental health and help children and young people access the help they so desperately need”.
Service users who attended the event gave testimonies praising the work and support they received during crisis.
Victoria, mother of an eight-year-old boy struggling with his mental health applauded the café.
She said: “When you come here you are in a safe space where you can just come out of the darkness
“It’s been a lifeline.”
The Circle puts emphasis on being a family hub, supporting children and parents alike, and providing drop-in and appointment-based specialist mental health support with the aim of reducing the number of young people presenting to A&E in crisis.
The service has received over 500 referrals and drop ins over the last year and is a national example of a vital resource.
It has become an integral part of the community, with neighbouring members of the public and local MP, Rupa Huq making regular drop-ins offering support and gratitude.
With Huq often dropping in on her way to parliament, she provides a voice for Circle users in the chambers, voicing concerns for young people’s mental health.
Over the last year statistics have shown that teens around GCSE age are a large percentage of Circle users and so it is detrimental to spread the word about the Circle in local schools in hopes that all children affected by exam stress can access its support and resources.
Charlotte, 11, who spoke on a service users panel stated: “I would like everyone to have the opportunity to experience Mind.”
When looking to the future, Circle hopes to enhance awareness and knowledge of their space, allowing for more children in the area to use their services.
Circle was co-produced with a committee consisting of children, young people, and parents, creating a warm space avoiding the clinical feel that surrounds A&E and other medical clinics.
Service user Isabella spoke of the warmth of the hub.
She said: “When I came here the whole atmosphere was kind and nice.”
When asked at the roundtable to describe the Circle in three words, service users and affected others used words such as warm, comfort, hope, peace, safe, and patience.
Circle is supporting efforts to raise awareness surrounding Children’s Mental Health Week, February 5-11.