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Health cafe should be repeated across Suffolk says Dr Dan Poulter

PUBLISHED: 07:30 04 November 2019

Dr Dan Poulter at the Worry Tree Cafe in Framlingham with Nick Corke, Katrina Clarke-Abbott, Sally Shadbolt, Kalam, and Sally's dog Noella. Picture: OFFICE OF DR DAN POULTER

Dr Dan Poulter at the Worry Tree Cafe in Framlingham with Nick Corke, Katrina Clarke-Abbott, Sally Shadbolt, Kalam, and Sally's dog Noella. Picture: OFFICE OF DR DAN POULTER

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A new cafe aimed at supporting people with mental health challenges has opened in Framlingham - with the blessing of local MP and NHS psychiatrist Dr Dan Poulter.

And Dr Poulter called for Suffolk's health bosses to follow the example of the Worry Tree Café.

A regular visitor and supporter of the café, Dr Poulter, was pleased to visit again to meet and talk to organisers Nick Corke and his daughter,Millie, as well as a number of regular users of the café.

Dubbed a community wellbeing café, the concept is very simple. From 4.30pm each Friday, for two hours, the small and welcoming team of dedicated volunteers offer tea, coffee and biscuits and anyone affected, either directly or indirectly, by mental health issues can drop in.

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The café at the Day Care Centre at Mills Meadow in the heart of the town now regularly welcomes up to 40 guests each Friday, many of whom are now close friends.

The most common reason for attending the Worry Tree is loneliness, but the café also supports those dealing with grief, depression and a variety of other issues.

There is no obligation to talk about mental health at all and for many the chance to get out of the house and to chat with friends is the most important part of the Worry Tree.

Dr Poulter said "There is good evidence that community mental health cafes and support networks like the Worry Tree can boost mental health and wellbeing amongst patients, and also provide an invaluable opportunity for carers to gain peer support.

"I am pleased to hear that Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG is taking a proactive view about investing in community resources to boost mental health and wellbeing in our county and I have urged them to look at what works for patients, their families and their carers, and to work with the team at the Worry Tree to replicate this outstanding community resource elsewhere in Suffolk."

When he is not in Parliament Dr Poulter works for several hours a week at a leading London hospital treating NHS patients - which he says helps him to keep up to date with health issues as a health service professional as well as a politician.

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