Cafe Helps Chicagoans Get Free Therapy
CHICAGO — Inside a place focused on physical health, you’ll find a pop-up cafe focused on mental health.
The Lululemon store at 944 W. North Avenue is Chicago’s latest Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health nonprofit space that helps Chicagoans get free therapy.
The pop-up store is about to be transformed a few kilometers away.
The cafe plans to go to Belmont Avenue near Sheffield Avenue in Lakeview.
The vision behind the latest and greatest company comes from Christopher Lemark who founded Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health over two years ago.
Plans are complete and construction is underway to transform this storefront into a home for customers.
The proceeds from the store, which is slated to open in the spring, go toward its mission of matching those seeking therapy with those providing it and helping to pay for it.
“Ultimately, the goal is to remove their financial barriers,” Lemark said.
Barriers that exist in every neighborhood.
Lemark says the city isn’t doing enough for the mental health of its residents.
“O thinks they are trying. We all try,” he said. “If you look at the violence on the south and west side and everything that is happening in the city, we are experiencing mental and emotional breakdown, collective trauma, unresolved healing. Things that have been going on for years and years. And Covid is the thing that blew the lid off.
Currently, Coffee, Hip-Hop & Mental Health is helping approximately 80 people with therapy with over 100 on the waiting list.
Lemark’s hope is to eventually fund 250 people as the organization grows – paid for by shop sales.
He tries to fill a need one conversation at a time.
A GoFundMe has been launched to help the cafe open its largest location.
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