How Making a Cup of Coffee at Seattle’s Cafe Hope Can Give People Something to Call Their Own

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Seattle’s Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) has reopened after a year of closure, fostering a deeper connection between the cafe and its community. Founded in 1973, ACRS provides community-based multilingual and multicultural services to address health, well-being, and empowerment issues faced by Asian American and Pacific Islander residents. The agency’s services reached about 30,000 people last year, and its cafe, Cafe Hope, helps clients with major depressive disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress. The cafe serves as a sanctuary for the staff and provides a sense of community.

Cafe Hope, located on the agency’s ground floor, offers clients a safe and supportive environment to work and socialize. Clients, including Khem, volunteer their time at the cafe, which has a nontraditional approach to mental health care. They practice teamwork, communication, and memory-building, while maintaining a work schedule and uniforms. The nontraditional approach can be more palatable to clients who might not otherwise welcome Western methods of mental health care. Clients like Khem feel better every time they visit Cafe Hope, as they feel better about themselves and their interactions with coworkers and customers. The agency also provides positive outlets for clients’ anxiety and feelings, allowing them to practice daily affirmations and maintain a positive outlook on life.

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Source: Coffee Talk

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