Out of This World Cafe

Out of This World - Image

The Out of This World Cafe employs psychiatric consumers and survivors. Established in 2004, this was the first social enterprise to operate out of a psychiatric facility. As a frequent in-patient at CAMH, I enjoyed my time spent in the Café. I was impressed that the staff, including the supervisors, were all psychiatric consumers/survivors, like myself. They had gained the self-confidence and sense of order that employment provides. This project directly links to the United Nations goals for sustainability. Here is the performance poem that results from my exploration of ‘Out of this World”.


Out of this World

Out of this world of chaotic, psychotic, robotic existence.
of wards and cords, connected by IV drips and injections,
corrections, projections, inspections of mind defined.
Humankind left behind. Resigned.
Disinclined to motivate self.
Confined and defined by repetitive thoughts and repetitive days.
A malaise aligned and withdrawn.
Contingent upon pharma-solutions and executions.

Out of the shelter, the unit, the street, the family home.
A monochrome of grey disarray.
Constrained by life’s inflexible expectations and regulations.
Indications of stigma at every turn.
An enigma, labeled with shame.
Ostracized and marginalized.
Named unstable. Framed by a label.
What hope was there in this disrepair?

In every downtown street corner, you’ll find us:
Every subway and bus, every Tim’s that lets us in
to pass the time of day.
Eighty percent of us, named “unemployable”.
Destroyable self-confidence.
No coincidence that conditions get worse.
Immersed in such an adverse situation.
No solid foundation.

But “Out of This World” can let us in.
A social enterprise that applies an ethos of
humanity, dignity and prosperity.
OTW engages consumer/survivors,
With training and regular wages.
In all different stages of recovery,
this discovery of workplace equity,
this place to grow instills the skills
apropos for serving the psychiatric sector
compelling cuisine and fabulous food
that is ‘out of this world’.

An attitude of inclusion, a fusion of skills
conducive to enterprise.
No intrusion. Instead, an allusion to
commitment in a workplace that’s based on respect.
Providing safe spaces, adaptable, flexible
Professional, ethical, emancipating.
Supporting the United Nation’s mandates,
Out of This World advocates for peaceful inclusivity,
productive employment, healthy lives and well-being.
It celebrates socially just productivity.

I first was connected with ‘Out of This World’
in my months spent within as a consumer in-patient.
Impatient to leave, my reprieve was my time
spent in ‘Out of This World’,
drinking ginger tea, seeing workers like me.
Some had been on my ward for “mood and anxiety”.
So rewarding to see the likes of me,
no longer ignored by society,
making meaning through work and making a living.
The skills they acquired inspired me
to re-examine my role in community.
I enrolled in college, committed to be
an advocate for social activity.
This writing, my first productivity
This social enterprise serving to
optimize and organize creativity.
I can’t overemphasize the magnitude of my gratitude
Accrued in this research and self-search
involved and evolved through “Out of This World”