Kirkcaldy mental health cafe Sam’s off to a roaring start

Sam's cafe staff at the Linton Lane centre ltr Chelsea Graham and Ross Reilly. Pic: George McLuskie.
Sam's cafe staff at the Linton Lane centre ltr Chelsea Graham and Ross Reilly. Pic: George McLuskie.

A Kirkcaldy charity founded in April celebrated success by taking part in the Scottish Association for Mental Health’s football and family fun day at East Fife’s Bayview Stadium.

The cafe is a mental health support project based within the Linton Lane Community Centre in Templehall, Kirkcaldy.

It is led by a team which experienced mental health issues and has been through recovery.

The peers have specifically been employed for their ability to help others with mental health problems.

The cafe is a drop–in resource for people aged 16 and over – there is no referral needed as it is a crisis intervention service where people can be supported in a prompt, relaxed environment.

Ross Reilly, a peer development practitioner, said: “We have only been open for about three months and we are already experiencing high numbers of people coming through our doors.

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“We are getting people from all over Fife using Sam’s Cafe, and, as word gets out, I would imagine more people will travel to Kirkcaldy to use it.”

Sam’s Cafe is funded through Action 15 funding which is in place to increase and diversify the mental health workforce in Scotland.

Ross underlined just how important it is as a crisis intervention service in the community.

He said: “When someone is in crisis, it helps if they come to us and we can come up with a crisis intervention plan to help deal with the situation.

“It can be something as simple as remembering their support network – when people are in crisis they tend to forget who they can turn to. Or, if, for example, they enjoy drawing, we can support them to recognise that again.

“There is a lot of isolation in the community, and we are seeing a lot of different people using the facility.

“If they come to us it can really de-escalate the crisis, as they are not in a clinical environment waiting for an appointment.”

Ross understands what people are going through.

He said: “I went through my own mental ill health and challenges. It absolutely knocked me for six.

“I was told that I would never work again – I was told various other negative things.

“You have to have grit and determination, you have to start managing little things one thing at a time to try to cope with it.”

Last week’s event was the fourth SAMH anti-stigma football tournament. It has grown and has expanded over the years and this was the time it had been stage outdoors at Bayview.

It was officially opened by Provost Jim Leishman and Ailey Davis (14), who tapped across the Forth Road Bridge to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation.

David Torrance MSP for Kirkcaldy, and Fife councillors fielded a team to compete for the coveted Fife Anti-Stigma Cup.

Sam’s Cafe is located at the Linton Lane centre in Kirkcaldy and is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2.00-10.00 pm.