Need therapeutic stress relief? Try 1:11 The Collective

Darlene A. White
Special to The Detroit News

If you want to release some stress, throw an ax at a wall. Well, not just any wall. Try the wall inside a new mental health activity center in Southfield.

1:11 The Collective offers an interactive experience with physical activities that allows users to release tension in rejuvenating and enjoyable ways.

Founded by Danielle Cato, a Detroit native and licensed clinician in school-based settings and in private practice, she decided to open the facility after seeing an increase in mental health issues during the COVID-19 shutdown. She says the business’s name combines the number one, for independence, with the number 11, for motivation — and is styled as 1:11 to indicate the time is right to form empowering collectives.

“During the pandemic, I saw that there was an intensified need for mental health services,” Cato said. “I saw that people were hurting due to death, separation and a plethora of issues that came to the forefront during this historic moment. As my work continued, I wanted to incorporate more of a fun release.”

Danielle Cato owns 1:11 The Collective in Southfield, which offers an interactive experience that allows users to release tension in rejuvenating and enjoyable ways.

Located at 15618 W. 10 Mile in Southfield, 1:11 The Collective is open for stress relief sessions starting at $30 an hour.

The facility houses specially designed rooms with nontraditional therapeutic activities that include ax throwing, the Break Room for plate smashing sessions, an affirmation wall, speed bagging, sound therapy and full-body massage chairs. To help clients disconnect from distractions and reconnect with the inner-self, there will be couples’ activities, yoga and therapeutic classes. This safe space will also offer virtual reality therapy.

“I enjoy throwing axes, I actually come weekly to release my own frustrations and stress,” said Cato. “It is amazing how just an hour can make a huge difference. I also love sound therapy. This is a holistic approach to let the frequency of sound enter your body and go directly to places that needs healing.”

When signing up for sound therapy, the facility provides an intimate setting where the facility is mostly dark, except for two low-lit lights and participants eyes are closed during the activity. They can listen to the sound that helps them to relax, allowing the sound to enter their body.

Access to 1:11 The Collective includes monthly memberships for some of the classes. All clients must be 16 or older, and at least 18 years old for the ax throwing room. Trained attendants will be on site and there are no fitness requirements for participants.

The space can be rented for private events, such as bridal showers, couples’ night and girls’ night out.

Cato says checking on your mental health is important.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health… Everything is connected,” she explained. “Being mentally unhealthy leads to extremely severe situations. It causes harm to self and others. From social determinants of health to genetics, there are so many factors that plays a role when it comes to mental health conditions, but it is important to recognize when you do not feel like yourself and take protective measures so that symptoms do not become severe.”

Danielle Cato owns 1:11 The Collective in Southfield, which offers an interactive experience that allows users to release tension.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Common mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and stress, can often show up as physical health problems.

“Everyone has challenges but what matters is our response to things,” said Cato. “This can be the maker or breaker of being healthy mentally. This is important to first identify and work through.”

During Cato’s teenage years she suffered from mental health issues. Both of her parents died before she was 15 years old, and she did not receive the help she needed to deal with that grief.

“I had to learn how to cope without giving up and losing everything I’ve worked for,” she said. “I learned it through my personal healing process, and I am determined to help others as well.”

Her Southfield location has been open for less than three months and already Cato said she plans to expand her business.

“Well, I am excited to share that in our short period of being open that we are already outgrowing this space, therefore we will be expanding,” she said. “We want to heal and help as many individuals as we can. Although the concept of a mental health spa is brand-new, it is working. This means that our purpose is aligned and being fulfilled.”

Dana Allen, 48, of Detroit said that having a safe place to release stress should be in every city.

“This place should be in cities everywhere,” Allen said. “I think it is a brilliant idea to have a place near you that can help reduce triggers of stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed from work or just tired from life, this should be your go-to spot. This is a place we all could use at some point in our life.”

There is a stigma in some communities about therapy, said Cato.

“Ultimately, I just want people to seek out help even if it does not look like what society classifies as traditional,” she added. “And even though I highly recommend people seek traditional help as well, I encourage people to do something on a continuum to ensure that they are tending to themselves.”

1:11 The Collective

15618 W. 10 Mile,  Southfield

Hours: 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday