Existing Safe Haven Cafés are typically funded through government block grants and involve ongoing collaboration between hospitals, community partners, nonprofit organizations, and volunteers.
Salaries and wages for mental health clinicians and peer support workers may comprise more than 90% of recurring operational costs. Other recurring costs include overhead and goods and services, including hot drinks and snacks. Capital investment will largely depend on the location of the Safe Haven Café. Organizations repurposing existing spaces will have substantially lower up-front and recurring investments.
Most Safe Haven Cafés are open only during off-hours that coincide with peaks in psychiatric presentations to the ED. Some locations are testing 24/7 services and virtual models.
Patients generally access Safe Haven Cafés three ways:
- Drop-in. Most Safe Haven Cafés are open to the public with few exceptions, including patients needing urgent medical intervention or under the influence of substances. Exclusion criteria vary by location.
- ED referral or triage. Most Safe Haven Cafés don’t require referrals, but those still in pilot phase may initially restrict access to curb demand. More commonly, patients who present to the ED are escorted to the Safe Haven Café by a peer support worker or other staff member without a referral.
- Police department triage. Safe Haven Cafés may also work with police departments to automatically transfer patients to the site.
The level of care provided at Safe Haven Cafés depends on the number and skill mix of staff. Safe Haven Cafés are typically staffed by hospital or third-party mental health clinicians; peer support workers with lived experience of mental or behavioral health needs; and unpaid community volunteers. Staff most often provide non-clinical services, such as emotional support, self-management skills training, referrals to follow-up specialist or inpatient services, and access to local resources.
Up to 80% of patients return for subsequent visits and bring in other patients by sharing their positive experiences.