The NHS in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland is expanding the number of crisis cafés as it opens two more venues this week, which for the first time, will be operating on two university campuses: the University of Leicester and De Montfort University.

Both cafes will be run by the leading mental health charity Mental Health Matters, under the guidance of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) which oversees much of the mental health support across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Crisis Cafes offer local support to people who need immediate help with their mental health.  They are from the NHS’s Long-Term Plan which aims to provide more support for mental health and wellbeing closer to home and more relevant to local communities’ needs. They were also overwhelminingly supported by the NHS’s local mental health consultation in 2021 called Step up to Great Mental Health.

On Tuesday 28 September, Dan Reynolds, the area manager for Mental Health Matters, was part of a team attending  De Montfort University Students’ Union Freshers Event. He said: “We have had a really insightful day talking to students and it has been refreshing to hear how open they are to talking about their mental health. 99.9% told me that the cafes are much needed and they will use them in moments of stress and crisis.”

Romeo Chipangura, the team manager at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust’s crisis team attended the DMU opening and said: “The cafes on campus are such a good idea as this time of year is the most stressful time for a young person. They are away from home for the first time and have a lot of pressure to fit in, plus high expectations from their families. Our crisis service does get students coming in for help,  so we are hoping that from this term onwards, we start to see a reduction as the students get help as soon as they begin to feel unwell.”

The cafes are being supported on campus by the Student Unions. DMU’s Student Union Advice and Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Sarah Underhill, added: “I was really excited when I first heard that the Students’ Union could be involved in this project. It is an independent space for students to come to in our building, it is an informal space and it will add to the support students can access in Leicestershire or to wider support in the local community.”

The opening of the two university cafes this week will be followed by the third and final student café at Loughborough University next month. This will bring the total number of cafes up and running in Leicester and Leicestershire to 14. Oadby and Wigston is also due to open in October and a second wave of 10 cafes will open in 2023, bringing the total to 25.

The administration of the bids is being managed by the NHS on behalf of the NHS by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (VAL) who will continue to work with the Cafes as they set up and develop.

For more information visit VAL’s website here  Crisis Café Grant Scheme – Voluntary Action LeicesterShire (