There are many health issues which we are not aware on how to deal with. Mental health is one of them, and most of us have very little awareness of how to deal with the issue. Unlike most illnesses, people rarely talk about it openly.
We are going to discuss on a Coffee shop which highlights the mental health issues, providing help to assistance seekers in addition to serving coffee.
Sip of hope is a coffee shop launched in May 2018 with a mission of donating 100% of its proceeds to promote suicide prevention and mental health education.
It is collaboration between the founder Jonny Boucher of Hope of the Day, and Dark Matter Coffee founder Jesse Diaz.
At most of the coffee shops you come for a cup of coffee and have some conversation. But at the Chicago based coffee bar Sip of Hope, you can expect a lot more. It gives 100 percent of its proceeds to mental health education and proactive suicide prevention.
It certifies all of its employees in mental health first aid and they are able to talk to any of the visitors who wish to unload on their problem. With more than 300 visitors a day, it’s a place where coffee lovers can talk openly about their mental health struggles; something every barista on Boucher’s staff is trained to do.
Hope for the day is a nonprofit movement founded in 2011 by Jonny Boucher. He became an advocate of mental health after losing 16 friends and family members to suicide.
In its first year of operation Sip of Hope earned the title of best coffee shop in Logan Square in LoganSquarist’s reader poll.
Before Sip of Hope became a reality, Boucher had to search for a locality. He found an ideal spot when the Logan Square’s grocery co-op Dill Pickle decided to move to a bigger location.
According to the visitor’s the coffee and tea are delicious. When you step into Sip of Hope, you’ll see a large “IT’s OK, not to be OK” signboard on one wall, along with other inspirational art and mental health resources available for anybody to use.
Boucher has two tattoos on each of his hands-“See something, say something” and “You get what you give.”
He says “There are 121 people taking their lives every day in America- over 44,000 a year. What we need in a society is places to gather because when you talk about it, you immediately raise the visibility.”
Hope for the day has distributed hundreds of thousands of resources till date (information of local health providers and online workshops , educational literature and brochures etc). Sip of Hope has a monthly “Conversations Cafe” series and Boucher visits schools and libraries.
People travel from all over the world to meet Boucher and the cafe has had visitors from Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Netherlands.
Boucher’s passion has expanded its outreach to 26 countries and with his one cafe doing very well, there are plans to open more coffee shops in Chicago.
Sip of Hope menu has its own signature blend, a rotating Dark Matter blend and Dark Matter’s Chocolate City iced coffee blend on tap.
Boucher had mental health issues in his family. He had an aunt and a grandmother who dealt with mental health problems when he was growing up. Nobody in his family talked about it and even he did not realize it, till he was an adult. Since the matter was always hushed up, many of the family members didn’t know how to cope with it.
One bad thing about mental health is that people don’t take it seriously till it impacts their lives. Boucher goes to the Chicago Police department regularly and finds that many cops have committed suicide. He connects more of them to crisis intervention training and wants them to be more OK about their feelings.
The staff members at the SIP of hope get training which includes attending specific health education workshop so that they are equipped to have conversations with patrons. Patrons don’t find any stigma attached to visiting the cafe as they feel themselves to be among friends.
Former President Barack Obama found Sip of Hope to be inspirational. It caught his attention and in 2018 and he tweeted about its work in making a better society.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 29,2018.
Obama later said, “I hope you find inspiration in the[se] stories … Their journeys began with a decision to build the better future they wanted to see. The same is true for you. What matters isn’t the size of the step you take; what matters is that you take it.”
As we all know life is hard and to cope it we need more than a cup of coffee during the day. It is OK to feel the pain but it is still better if we talk about it to someone. The biggest obstacle to preventing suicide is silence. As a community we can start conversation about mental health. Prevention starts with a conversation and this is where Sip of Hope comes into picture.
All over the world the issue of mental health is pushed under the table with people not discussing openly. The trend started by Sip of Hope as a place to have coffee and discuss the mental health issues is beneficial for the society. More such places are coming up in other countries and this would benefit the society a lot.