KAFE Konnect – Call for vigilance as ‘silent crisis’ hits community mental health

Community support workers have called for people to be vigilant while a ‘silent mental health crisis’ grips Cornwall as an invisible social side-effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specialists working for the ESF-funded Kafe Konnect programme are asking people in communities in Cornwall to check-in with those around them for signs of difficulties caused by increased isolation and social disruption from lock-downs.

They hope community members will help them get their support to those who need it by reaching people who may have disengaged with their wider community and the support that it once provided them.

“We help people suffering from anxiety-related problems to re-engage in their community and get back in to meaningful activities, such as education, training, volunteering and employment,” said Becka Prynne, team leader of the Kafe Konnect project.

“Since lockdown we have seen a significant rise in anxiety-related mental health problems relating to isolation often caused by the inability to attend regular social activities or the need to work from home.”

The Kafe Konnect programme, which is free to take part in, helps unemployed people, over the age of 18 by offering a wide range of personal assistance including talking therapies, support groups and one-to-one coaching as well as mentoring in areas such as employability and vocational training.

People can use it to get involved in education, volunteering, training, employment, leisure courses, getting out and about and getting more involved in the community, getting access to additional support. They can also signpost people to further services that specialise in addiction support and more specific mental health difficulties.

“Our mentors are not here to criticise or judge,” added Becka, “whatever someone’s background or ambitions, a mentor can guide a person towards a better place through building their confidence, motivation and knowledge, as well as shining a light on their experience, skills, strengths and passions to ensure they seek the role or training they need to thrive.”

“I want to speak directly to those wonderful people who are at work in the community: if you know of someone who has fallen through the gaps and is disengaged with life for whatever reason, there’s a good chance we can help – and that’s what we’re here for. Please get in touch.”

People wanting to find out more about the Kafe Konnect programme and how it might be able to help someone in their community can fill in the form on the KAFE Konnect page, found in the services section.

The project is receiving up to £294,235.36 of funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.