Marks and Spencer are launching mental health drop-in sessions in their cafes to encourage people to invest in their emotional wellbeing.
The sessions will take place at store cafes and are set to run on a fortnightly basis.
Although the sessions will be run by trained volunteers, M&S has been careful to outline that these are not ‘therapy’ sessions, just an informal and welcoming space designed to encourage people to speak more openly about mental health.
Initially there will be 11 locations available to shoppers that are feeling stressed, including three in London as well as stores in Nottingham, Leeds and Newcastle with more set to open in the coming months.
The iconic British brand is collaborating with comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax to set up the ‘Frazzled Cafes’.
Ruby explained that the cafes are a chance for people to slow down for a minute, speak about their stress and to connect with others.
‘We live in a time where to have a life crammed to the hilt is considered a success story.
‘But with all this pressure, so many of us have nowhere to go to meet and talk about it. Frazzled Cafe is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result.’
Marks and Spencer has already trialled the idea in two of their stores and after much success will be creating a registered charity called The Frazzled Cafe Project.
The idea was originally taken from Ruby’s book, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled and it’s accompanying show.
Speaking of the support she’s received from the store, Ruby said, ‘It’s special to get a company like M&S on board. I’m grateful for the set-up support they’ve given us and access to their cafe network is a huge boost.’
M&S retail director Sacha Berendji said, ‘This is a simple, pressure-free way of tackling what can be a taboo subject – feeling stressed.’
‘We hope that by providing free and calm venues after the cafe has closed, we can help any members of the community who simply need to talk about things and what’s happening in their lives.’