Mind The Bar is a new foundation and online resource conceived by a couple of service industry veterans who recognized the lack of affordable and free help for their peers suffering from mental health issues. It all started with a conversation between MTB Vice President Christina Cottell and her business partner at Gringo and Dixie’s restaurants, Shoel Davidson, who was suffering from severe depression and floundering to find assistance. After experiencing a shocking lack of sympathy for his situation from the professional community in the form of a series of “no money, no help, go to a hospital” responses, Davidson finally lucked out and found a therapist who was willing to answer some questions and offer a sliding scale of options.
“We realized something had to be done – our industry is rife with mental health issues, and if it takes that much effort and time to get help, it’s no wonder we see the addiction and suicide rates spiking across both front and back of house staff. I felt helpless as a partner and employer (to other staff approaching us) in knowing where to find resources or help for my staff, and so we started the process of forming Mind The Bar.”
Basically, MTB will act as an easily accessible, vetted and curated online resource for those seeking help with the four major challenges faced by industry workers: depression, anxiety, addiction and harassment in the workplace. (The nationally registered NPO has enlisted an array of mental health professionals to help with their mission.) Furthermore, it aims to remove the stigma of addressing these issues by creating a supportive community. Shoel sums up the mission succinctly as, “Taking care of ourselves as well as we take care of our guests.”
Mind the Bar officially launches at the Portside Pub on Monday, July 23rd. The event is open to the public and is free to attend with registration on their Eventbrite page. The evening will act as an introduction to the founding board of directors – including Doug Stephen (DL Chicken), Brandi England (One Under/ Teen Wealth), Alex Black (Tableau), Joey Donnelly (Clough Club), Kristi-Leigh Akister (PiDGin), and Janna Silver (Cascade Room) – who will be speaking about their mission and purpose and answering your questions, as well as a valuable opportunity to network and connect with likeminded people to hopefully organize future events.
Find out more and register for the launch here.