Soup Kitchen serves up mental health support to London’s homeless

Caroline, who is 10 weeks pregnant, clutches a colourful antenatal zip-file folder from the NHS. It has pregnancy advice written all over it, telling her to eat healthily and stay active. But she is in an unusual position for a soon-to-be mother – she’s a rough sleeper.

The 28-year-old is one of many who have been getting food, but also mental health support at the Soup Kitchen at the American international church on Tottenham Court Road in central London.

The project is the first of its kind, with no other soup kitchen having ever opened up a mental health clinic on site.

Alex Brown, the director of the Soup Kitchen, first made the suggestion. He felt that by giving free mental health support to homeless people you could help them get off the streets.

Michael Brown, a Soup Kitchen trustee and the founder of the advertising company MKTG, helped by setting up a crowdfunding page to raise money for a part-time therapist. They needed £30,000 and it exceeded this target in late 2017. There were further steps to take before launching but they opened their doors with a party last week.

Last week Caroline was being helped by Dr Dobrochna Zajas, a cognitive behavioural therapist. She and her colleague Dr Brett Grellier have been offering specialist therapy, using techniques tailored for those who have been through trauma.

Full story: Guardian

Author: Philip Challinor
Posted on: 9th July 2019