Five new support services open in London as mental health needs rise during pandemic


Five new mental health support services will open in London for adults experiencing a mental health crisis. They are run by the charity Hestia, who have opened the support services in response to concerns around the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on mental health.

Two ‘Together Cafés’ in Newham and Tower Hamlets, funded by the East London Foundation Trust (ELFT), will provide face-to-face support to those who are struggling, with an option of support via phone and video call too.

Three ‘Coves’, in Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster, and Brent and Harrow, will provide virtual, phone-based and video call support. The Coves are funded by the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL).

Due to the restrictions of Britain’s lockdown, many people are reaching a point of crisis faster as existing mental health challenges are heightened due to isolation, grief and financial concerns. Opportunities for intervention have also decreased, with some individuals feeling less able to communicate their struggles to friends, family or professionals.

Hestia’s new services aim to decrease pressure on A&E and other services and provide a critical space for early intervention for people looking to speak to a local support service.

Support in all five services will be available through bookable appointments for those over the age of 18 in mental health distress. Those looking to access the Together Cafés must be referred through the East London Foundation Trust’s crisis response team and all referrals for the Coves will go through CNWL’s Urgent Care Services.

Trained staff at the services will help people to reduce their immediate anxiety, work with them to formulate a safety plan and provide information on local resources that may help them moving forward.

The two Together Cafés will operate in line with strict government guidance on social distancing, with a maximum of two people allowed in the services at any one time.

Elvio Correia, Area Manager for Hestia’s Mental Health Crisis Services, explained:

“Coronavirus is having a huge impact on mental health, with many people finding that they are reaching a point of crisis a lot quicker than usual. Our mental health services will enable people to get help with their mental health during the pandemic; there will be someone there who can listen to them and offer support and information.”

Shakil, who has used Hestia’s mental health services and is now a volunteer at Hestia’s Recovery Café in Tooting, said:

I was referred to the Recovery Café by my local mental health service. I was in a terrible way and I was welcomed by a member of staff who gave me a cup of tea, took my information and helped me put together a support plan. I began to attend regularly and after a while I could feel my loneliness seeping away and my emotions begin to calm. Over this past year I have found purpose and regained stability in my life.”

Melanie King, ELFT's Crisis Pathway Service Manager for Tower Hamlets said:

"ELFT are delighted to be working with Hestia to support Tower Hamlets residents.  Isolation and financial pressures are making life hard for so many people right now. 

The Together café staff will listen and offer guidance. I urge people to pick up the phone and book an appointment if they are feeling low.” 

Ade Odunlade, Managing Director for Mental Health services at Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Mental health services are fully open in the borough but we want to invest in more choice for people in distress. One size doesn’t suit everyone. This Hestia service – The Cove – will grow into another choice; we will be moving to a face to face service when social distancing permits and hours will expand. This is good news.”

All five services will be open 365 days a year, and will remain open beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

The Together Café in Tower Hamlets is open Monday to Friday 5pm to 9pm, and weekends and Bank Holidays 12pm to 9pm.

The Together Café in Newham, which opens on Monday 25th May, will be open Monday to Thursday 5pm to 9pm, Friday to Sunday 5pm to 11pm, and Bank Holidays 5pm to 9pm.

The three Coves are open Monday to Sunday (Hillingdon 2:30pm to 9:30pm, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster 2:30pm to 9:30pm, and Brent and Harrow 5:30pm to 00:30am).


Notes to Editor

  • The referral route for the Tower Hamlets Together Café is via the Crisis Line, telephone number: 0207 771 5807
  • The referral route for the Newham Together Café is via the Crisis Line, telephone number: 0207 771 5888
  • The referral route for the three Coves is via the CNWL Single Point of Access (SPA) advice line on 0800 0234 650
  • The services are open for booked appointments only during the coronavirus crisis.
  • The name ‘Coves’ was selected by people currently using a CNWL mental health service
  • The services launch during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 18th-24th May

If you would like any more information you can email the Hestia team at the cafés:

If individuals do attend without an appointment they will be referred back to ELFT Crisis services:

  • Tower Hamlets: Crisis Hub
  • Newham: Assessment and Crisis Hub

About Hestia

For 50 years, Hestia has provided support and hope every step of the way of recovery. Today, millions of people are experiencing domestic abuse, modern slavery and challenges with their mental health. Hestia believes no-one should suffer alone. Together, we can make sure people find a life beyond crisis.

At Hestia we support adults and children in times of crisis. We deliver services across London and the surrounding regions, as well as campaign and advocate nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. Last year we supported 10,766 men, women and children. This includes victims of modern slavery, women and children who have experienced domestic abuse, young care leavers and older people. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, we support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond a crisis. We are supported by nearly 600 volunteers across London who provide specialist skills such as art therapy, yoga, IT, gardening and cooking, as well as befriending and fundraising.

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