Extern will be adding to its existing support for people experiencing mental health crisis in the Derry-Londonderry area over the next six months with the launch of a new crisis café in the city centre.

Operating on a monthly basis the drop-in café will provide a safe space to welcome anyone aged over 18 who may be experiencing mental health crisis and who needs help. Trained and experienced staff will be present to provide brief interventions and signposting to local services.

Based in the ground floor space at the Holywell Trust building, on Bishop Street, the cafe will operate on the second Monday of every month, from October onwards, and will run for the next six months. Funding for the café has been provided by the Community Foundation NI, which also funds Extern’s Community Crisis Intervention Service (CCIS), a community-based project which is accessible to adults at risk of suicide in the local area.

A special launch event was held on Monday, September 11th, following World Suicide Prevention Day, which took place on Sunday, and was attended by the Mayor of Derry & Strabane, Cllr Patricia Logue, as well as elected representatives and supporters from local statutory and community organisations.

Community Resource Guide Released in Conjunction with Crisis Café Opening

The opening of the cafe coincides with the publication of a new community resource guide from Extern. This 34-page booklet – which is available both online and in print locally - contains listings of a wide range of health and wellbeing services which are available in the Derry-Londonderry area, across the statutory, community, and charitable and voluntary sectors.

The guide provides details of where people facing mental health difficulties may access support, as well as details of parenting groups, bereavement support, GPs and gyms, among others.

Funding for the new resource guide has been provided by both the SSE Renewables Slieve Kirk Community Fund, and the Community Foundation NI.

Guiding the Community to Support

Michelle Donnelly, Senior Community Investment Manager from SSE Renewables, said: “We are delighted to able to support such a valued and necessary resource for people struggling with mental health. We want to praise Extern for the support they provide across the community and voluntary sector and wish them every success  with the launch of the new crisis café.”

Orla Black, Grants Director for the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, said: “Mental health is one of the most pressing issues within our society today. Our appreciation of the resources needed to help provide positive metal health outcomes has grown, but not as fast as the demand for these services.  

“The crisis café will boost support for people in the Derry-Londonderry area, offering trained and experienced staff to help at, what is for many, a crucial time. The Community Foundation is proud to support this programme through the Department of Health’s Mental Health Support Fund."

Speaking at the event, the Mayor said: “I welcome the arrival of both of these resources for people in the Derry-Londonderry area, as the need for support is seemingly greater than ever for those who are struggling with poor mental health. I wish Extern good luck with these new initiatives and look forward to seeing the positive impact they will have for our city.”

Mayor of Derry & Strabane Cllr Patricia Logue meets staff from Extern

Mayor of Derry & Strabane Cllr Patricia Logue meets staff from Extern

Extern’s Director of Policy & Development Sharon Hearty said: “We know things have been very difficult for many people recently, through the cost-of-living crisis and with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic still being felt by many even now."

"Through the launch of our crisis café and this excellent new directory, we are letting people know that there is help out there and both of these resources will help direct the local community towards finding it. We hope that people will find them of help in the months." ahead.”