Coffee, with a side of kindness
A community-based service supporting people facing emotional or suicidal distress and creating ‘safe spaces’ right across the Northern Beaches.
In recent years, our community has faced some hard challenges, so it’s no wonder mental health has come to the forefront of conversations. Lockdowns and long periods of isolation have seen a large increase in declining mental health and the current cost of living crisis hasn’t helped to steady emotions. These factors, compounded with the usual challenges of everyday life has made the need for in-person communication and support all the more greater.
The impacts our mental health plays on our overall well-being are fortunately better understood now than in bygone eras, despite this, there has been little to no increases in funding or resources. The overwhelming strain on the mental health system has direct impacts within our communities and it is often those you would least suspect who are suffering the most. This means it’s more important than ever for us to come together as a community to support those less fortunate, or those that may be struggling with mental health issues.
Thankfully, Sydney’s Northern Beaches has MoWaNa.
Standing for Mona Vale, Warriewood and Narrabeen, MoWaNa is a community-led Safe Space group offering peer support for those experiencing emotional or suicidal distress. They have taken up residence at The Mind Cafe in Narrabeen.
Co-designed by Roses in the Ocean, MoWaNa is part of their National Community-led Safe Space Project, developing spaces for people to meet, share and support each other throughout Australia.
MoWaNa President Melani Kypri candidly shared her story of attempted suicide and struggles with mental health with the Northern Beaches Advocate, saying:
“From my experience being in hospital and the recovery period, I thought we’ve got to do better. People that are feeling mentally stressed out, they need peace and quiet, they need calmness around them,”
With that, the idea of MoWaNa was founded. The Mind Cafe, owner Guy Morel, also told the publication,
“This issue is really close to my heart. The purpose and values behind this café align with what MoWaNa is about.”
MoWaNa offers a person-led non-clinical approach to support, whereby people with Lived Experience are actively involved in all aspects of the Community-led Safe Space. The organisation is staffed by Peer CARE Companions (PCC) who have either had their own lived experience of suicide, have supported someone else in crisis, or who have been bereaved by suicide.
It is important to remember, that community is more than just the street or suburb that you live in, community also means being able to seek out and offer support.