The Bear Paw Cafe Employs People Struggling With Mental Health

The Bear Paw Cafe’s Charming Way in Employing People Struggling With Mental Health

The staff serves beverages with the help of a furry friend.

As mental health continues to be an urgent concern all around the world, more and more private companies are now taking strides in making workplaces a more harmonious and conducive environment for their employees. One of them is the Bear Paw Cafe in Osaka, Japan, locally known as Kumanote cafe, set to open on 11 Sep 2021. This cafe hits two birds with one stone: It protects everyone from close contact, which is a huge plus amidst the coronavirus, and it helps its staff struggling with mental disorders reintegrate into society. 

Also read: This Tokyo Pig Cafe Allows You to Play With Micro Pigs in a Refreshing Farm

Image credit: PR Times

You might be wondering how exactly the Bear Paw Cafe in Japan assists its staff. Well, it isn’t called “Bear Paw” for nothing. Through a literal hole in the wall, the staff serves customers with their orders via a fake bear paw. So don’t be surprised if you see a furry arm handing you your coffee!

Why the “bear paw” method?

The cafe is actually run by Mental Support, an academy that has been providing mental help and counselling to struggling individuals for 12 years. The academy came up with an idea where their patients or students can learn how to reintegrate with society and heal from past trauma without actually having to face customers. After all, face-to-face contact often becomes a trigger for anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.

With the help of a “furry friend,” the academy created a space where social contribution was possible for its patients while they work with peace of mind without showing their faces. 

According to the Bear Paw Cafe website, there are currently six staff members: One has been diagnosed with depression for five years and is under rehabilitation. Two suffer from hypersensitivity. Another has an adjustment disorder, while the other is experiencing withdrawal. The last staff member is a mother whose son has a learning disability and whose daughter has a personality disorder. 

The cafe will soon be open to taking in more part-time staff who similarly struggle with their mental health so as to assist them in livelihood and recovery.

The ultimate goal of this cafe is to teach the patients to be self-sustaining and do their own mental care as they are given opportunities to hone their skills through school and shop work. 

Also read: Mustard Hotel in Japan Lets You Stay for Only ¥500 Per 30 Minutes

Businesses like the Bear Paw Cafe are truly the standard. They pave the way for the recovery of people who suffer from mental disorders, as well as for the rest of society to normalise mental health checks. We’re definitely trying this cafe out the next time we’re in Osaka. Know about similar establishments we can support? Drop us a message on Facebook!

Featured image credit: Kumanote Cafe | Official Website

About Author

Therese Sta. Maria
Therese Sta. Maria

Therese's close friends know that if they haven’t seen her around recently, then she’s probably having an adventure with her luggage and camera in hand. Though she loves staying at home and spending lazy afternoons with friends, there are times when she has to be "away from home to feel at home," — that’s when she’s bitten by the travel bug. See her travels on Instagram @reesstamaria.