U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D- Ill., ordered a small americano for the cause of suicide prevention.
A new Logan Square coffee shop, Sip of Hope, opened its doors on Thursday as an endeavor to funnel donations to the nonprofit Hope for the Day. The coffee sold there is donated by Dark Matter Coffee, a longtime partner of the mental health awareness and suicide prevention nonprofit. Hope for the Day provides mental health resources such as training teachers and community members in Mental Health First Aid.
Durbin visited the Northwest Side neighborhood for the ribbon cutting.
“Over the years, what we have seen is there has been a stigma that’s been attached to this,” Durbin said to the packed coffeeshop. “For the longest time it was a matter that was greeted with silence, then for a while, whispers, now thanks to Sip of Hope and what you’re doing here it’s being greeted with honest conversation.”
Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. sat with Durbin at the coffee bar as community members filed in for the event. Addressing the audience, he spoke highly of Sip of Hope.
“We see far too much in Cook County the issues that we have in mental health. So places like this, here, is a place to start the conversation,” Arroyo said. “I believe the conversation starts in the neighborhood, starts in a welcoming environment, what better place to discuss that than early in the morning, getting ready to start the day over a cup of coffee.”
Carl Evans, director for programming at Hope for the Day said conversation is the key for the community engagement experiment at Sip of Hope.
“The coffee shop is sort of a manifestation of being able to get comfortable, talk about how you feel,” Evans said. “Some of the hardest conversations we ever have are going to be over a cup of coffee, so culturally it fits.”
The baristas at Sip of Hope are trained not just in the craft of making coffee drinks, but also in Mental Health First Aid, which includes recognition for signs of distress or suicidal ideation.
This resource is important to Sandy Jocoy. She lives in the neighborhood and came to the ribbon-cutting, thinking about her friend, who attempted suicide last week.
“I am really moved by the work that Hope for the Day does. I think everybody’s been touched by suicide,” Jocoy said. “To have a place to come to that you know the people that work here get it, they’re available and ready to help with whatever somebody might need.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States in 2016, taking the lives of almost 45,000 people — more than twice as many as homicides. Mental Health America of Illinois reports more than 1,000 Illinoisans die each year by suicide, an average of 2.9 per day.
Gracie Fischer, peer advocate at Hope for the Day, said she’s a suicide attempt survivor and has since dedicated her life to suicide prevention by working with Hope for the Day.
“Every cup that is served at Sip of Hope will serve hope for the day’s mission of proactive suicide prevention,” Fischer said.
If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone. All calls are confidential. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
© Copyright (c) 2018 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.