BY ANTHONY GUERRERO
Breathe Coffee House will open its doors this semester to discuss mental health with a side of coffee. Breathe Coffee House founder Patrick McGinnis believes in-person conversation is essential with the rise of technology and will do so with the “Can We Just Talk” series.
McGinnis’s goal with “Can We Just Talk” is to use coffee to create discussion and encourage people to engage in face-to-face conversation.
“When you look somebody in the eye, our neurological part of our brain can actually mirror each other’s minds when we take enough time to feel what somebody else feels. When we do that, we have the ability to understand each other,” McGinnis said.
Topics planned for discussion include anxiety, depression, communication, physical health and other issues often ignored.
McGinnis hopes to attract FHSU freshmen, transfer students and international students, but he hopes to impact the Hays community as a whole, explaining a gap between the two.
“We were wanting not only to be able to connect students to each other, but also connect students to people in the community,” he said.
Will Stutterheim, FHSU instructor in psychology, said open dialogue is important.
“It would stand to reason that if you are prioritizing your well-being, it will make you a more productive student,” Stutterheim said. “The more we can work to keep students out of states of toxic stress and burnout, the more effective that student will be this semester and for years to come.”
Other benefits Stutterheim said the series provides is having a space to connect with others and being free of judgment, greater self-awareness and different perspectives. As meaningful conversations begin, Stutterheim advises those who hesitate to open up about their mental health to attend at least one of the meetings to observe and listen.
“There is no pressure to ‘make’ you open up at these meetings,” Stutterheim said. “Take the time to listen to the conversation and talk when you feel comfortable doing so.”
The first meeting of “Can We Just Talk” will be at 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at Breathe Coffee House, 703 B Main. The coffee shop’s full menu and event schedule can be found on its website.