Coffee shop starts mental illness conversation in Logan Square

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Inside Logan Square's new Sip of Hope coffee shop, caffeine flows with purpose: offering mental illness education for suicide prevention.

"Silence is winning. The more that we talk about it the more that we'll realize that we're not alone, we're not crazy, we're not insane," said Jonny Boucher, who founded charity Hope For The Day.

The organization opened this shop to bring the mental illness conversation into our everyday routine with Dark Matter Coffee's help.

"We're becoming much more open about it. We understand it's an illness, it's not a curse," said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin who joined the grand opening celebration Thursday morning.

Beyond talking, Sip of Hope turns a profit for good, with all net proceeds going to Hope For The Day's "proactive suicide prevention."

The organization offers classes on how to talk about mental illness and how to recognize when someone's in need of help.

"You break the stigma by beginning conversation. If you can't talk about a problem, then you don't know anything about the problem. You don't know how to spot it, you don't know how to address it," said Gracie Fischer, a survivor of multiple suicide attempts who now volunteers with Hope For The Day.

But everyone working at Sip of Hope is prepared. Paid baristas and volunteer staff all receive mental health first aid training, learning to recognize signs of struggle and how to talk through those challenges when someone comes in looking for support.

An added benefit of the innovative space, people previously on the periphery of the conversation will be exposed up close to this important societal issue.

"It's a great idea, to share a cup of coffee. That's something we do every single day," said customer Izer Martinez.

The conversation starts at Sip of Hope every day at 6 a.m. at 3039 West Fullerton Avenue.

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Sip of Hope in Logan Square is described as the nation's first coffeeshop in which 100 percent of the net proceeds are used to fund suicide prevention.

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