Conversations Cafe: February 2019 Recap

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Once a month HFTD hosts our Conversations Cafe at Sip of Hope. For those who don’t know, Sip of Hope is our Logan Square, Chicago based coffee shop with beans supplied from Dark Matter Coffee. 100% of profits support proactive suicide prevention and mental health education.

Conversations Cafe is an event featuring education and dialogue on the intersections of mental health within our communities. Through this community engagement we aim to bring individuals together to raise the visibility of the conversation on mental health, and break the silence of stigma.

Our Conversation Cafe topic for February was “Me, Myself, and I” and the coffee shop was packed. Our Sip of Hope staff was welcoming and attendees were eager to engage. Whether you wanted to join in on the discussion or just sit back and listen while enjoying your coffee, you had a seat at the table.

Art Therapist, Kristen McCary of Thrive Art Therapy. Photo: Kris Lori

Art Therapist, Kristen McCary of Thrive Art Therapy. Photo: Kris Lori

For this particular Conversations Cafe, we brought in art therapist, Kristen McCray from Thrive Art Therapy. Art Therapy is largely helpful within the mental health community. Art therapists utilize self-expression through art to help create an emotional understanding, as well as to build a sense of self confidence and positive coping mechanisms.

We distributed our brand new postcards amongst attendees and provided colored pencils with the instructions being to draw something representative of either who you are as a person or something you “need” in your life. The final illustrations varied widely.

Carl Evans, our Director of Programming and Operations, took this opportunity to draw a mandala-like pattern that has stuck with him from a young age as a symbol of relief amidst anxiety and tension.

Myron Labon, drawing his signature “uplift” figure. Photo: Kris Lori

Myron Labon, drawing his signature “uplift” figure. Photo: Kris Lori

Street artist, Myron Laban drew his signature “uplift” figure depicting a person holding another on their shoulders. He explained that to him it’s a symbol of hope and the “light at the end of the tunnel”. Myron’s art can be found on a mural at Sip of Hope.

The majority of postcard art shared served as reminders of hope and positivity, taking on various themes ranging from body positivity to spirituality. Despite being a crowd of many backgrounds, all were able to utilize art as a means of self-expression.

Embracing self-expression is extremely important to combating mental health obstacles. Whether it be through athletics, art, or music, self-expression is an extremely valid and beneficial coping mechanism.

At the end of the event, folks were given the option to hold onto their postcards, or to have HFTD mail them. It was an excellent night of awareness, expression, and community.

HFTD Education Director, Mike Vinopal, and community members participating in the drawing exercise. Photo: Kris Lori

HFTD Education Director, Mike Vinopal, and community members participating in the drawing exercise. Photo: Kris Lori

Join us for next month’s Conversation Cafe on March 20, 2019 at Sip of Hope. By attending this event and talking about mental health, you can raise the visibility of the conversation and help us break the silence of stigma. WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.

SIP OF HOPE COFFEE BAR
3039 W Fullerton Ave,
Chicago, IL 60647

All photos by: Kris Lori

Max Loebman