Patricia’s Coffee Bar is tucked neatly into the corner of Victoria Road and Calder Street in a unit that once belonged to a plant shop.

On a sunny weekend the queues are long and brunch is often sold out, but it’s curing Monday night blues that the Docherty family behind Patricia’s say this beloved coffee shop is all about.

In honour of their late mum, owners of Patricia’s take turns hosting the evening session at the start of every week to bring together neighbours and trained volunteers to explore mental health and foster human connection.

Glasgow Times: Photo by Richard WintersPhoto by Richard Winters

The past few years have felt like a nonstop series of insurmountable challenges, with the collective spirit at an all-time low and wait times to get help seemingly neverending.

The Govanhill cafe, celebrated for its incredible coffee and yummy brunch, began hosting a mental health ‘chat cafe’ around two years ago as an informal way to help people in the community.

Patricia’s is owned and run by siblings Darryl Docherty, Stephanie Docherty, David Docherty, and Jade Corbally in honour of their mum, Patricia, who took her life in 2015.

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The chat cafe is run with help from You Are My Sunshine (YAMS), a Newarthill-based mental health charity that provides trained volunteers for the evenings.

The nights are an informal forum to discuss mental health or simply enjoy some biscuits and hot drinks with other members of the community, but anyone seeking additional support can be referred for a video counselling session with YAMS.

Darryl, who also runs the much-loved cafe Short Long Black on Victoria Road, says “the intention was to open a space to better things in the community with, and also, most importantly, spearhead mental health awareness".

Darryl and his siblings wanted to create something in the community to honour their mother, and the chat cafe was part of that concept.

Stephanie, Darryl's younger sister, says that they chose to host the evenings on Monday because a lot of people struggle over the weekends and are hit with Monday blues.

The cafe has been invaluable to the community, particularly when wait times for NHS mental health services are high and people are faced with increasing hardships off the back of the pandemic.

Stephanie explains that everyone comes for different reasons and stresses that sometimes you just need to take the first step in speaking to someone.

She said: “We give a really warm welcome when people come for the first time, so I would really like for people not to be afraid to take that plunge.

“Just walk through the door. You never know, we might be able to help you.”

The owners of Patricia’s stress that having community resources for mental health can be invaluable.

Stephanie said: “It’s something I think was missing in Govanhill when we were growing up.

“We always said that if our mum had had somewhere like that to go to, then things might have been different for her.

“Somewhere where mental health wasn’t a stigma to talk about.”

She added: “We do have people that openly talk about their mental health, and that’s very refreshing.”

Over the past two years, the chat cafe has helped community members in a variety of ways, from helping those struggling with English to get appropriate mental health help, to acting as a reliable part of the week for some frequenters with autism.

The experience of hosting a community mental health hub has been incredibly rewarding for the siblings, acting as an informal place for people to come to and feel like they are not alone.

Stephanie said: “It just brings it home as to why we’re doing what we’re doing.”

The siblings look at Patricia’s Coffee Bar as a place their mum would have come, and the chat cafe as something she would love.

Stephanie said: “We think that if mum were still here, she would be there every week.

“She would be making the tea and doing the welcoming, and she would just be talking to absolutely everybody.

“That’s definitely what she would be doing.”

Stephanie and her siblings hope to bring on more volunteers and inspire other businesses to host similar events of their own.

Stephanie says that it’s important for people to be aware of nurturing their mind and their mental health, and to face it head-on so that it doesn’t eat away at you.

She stresses how integral the support Patricia’s gets from YAMS is, and how exceptional their mental health volunteers have been.

A spokesperson for YAMS said: “Stephanie from Patricia’s Cafe in Govanhill contacted us because of the need in her area and her passion for better mental health support.

“Our trained volunteers run the yams chat cafe within Patricia’s and the staff have really supported the local community by giving up their free time to support the volunteers, open their doors to those in need and serving fantastic coffee and snacks, all for free.

“They are wonderful, kind people and we are proud to work in partnership with Patricia’s and the Docherty family.”