In an industry that abuses substance abuse, restaurant workers help themselves.
Where alcohol is avoided in most workplaces, it stays the same in restaurants. Late night culture means that most social networking takes place in a bar after work. “We are a slightly different industry,” said Mickey Bakst, general manager of Charleston Grill in south Carolina. But it also means that restaurant employees are at serious risk of drug abuse.
Baxter is a recovering alcoholic. When he first attended an anonymous conference in 1982, he did not see another person in the restaurant business. “No one knew that waking up in the morning was so clear that I couldn’t sleep,” he recalls.
But in 2016, in the Charleston chef Murray (Ben Murray) because addiction and depression and suicide, Baxter and restaurant boss Steve Palmer (Steve Palmer) decided to set up a support group, to prevent this from happening again.
Friends, as the group says, are now holding Sunday meetings in three cities in south Carolina and Georgia. Baxter described the meetings as “open-ended, sometimes painful, discussing the difficulties of working in this industry”. They might talk about what to do when you’re back and working in the kitchen, the restaurant is full, and your chef is screaming. “You’re doing everything you can to stay awake, but the level of stress is through the roof.”
It’s a bit like aa, but tailored to the restaurant business – their only requirement is that the attendees have a desire to overcome their addiction.
“You need someone who understands this and understands the special pressures surrounding alcohol, carnival and drugs,” said Kat Kinsman, senior food and beverage editor at Extra Crispy. Founded in 2016, the gold ‘is the there is something wrong with the “cook” (Chefs with Issues), it is a committed to eliminate the problem of mental health resources, provides the restaurant staff to share information and discuss the problem of security space.
She has been open to her depression and anxiety and has written a book called hello, anxiety. She often has a chef to talk to her about her struggles, and wants to create a BBS to promote the rampant addiction and mental illness in the restaurant industry.
According to the substance abuse and mental health services administration, a study in 2015, food services and hotel industry has the highest rate of substance use disorders, all employment sectors of heavy alcohol use is highest.
But until recently, there was not much resources to help catering professionals face these challenges.
Kingsman started the “problematic cook mental health survey” and received more than 100 responses within 24 hours, and now, almost two years later, there are thousands of responses. “The biggest gain is that there are so many people suffering,” she said. “most people don’t want to talk about it with their peers or other people in the industry.
Kingsman was also surprised by the limited resources available to help. “We know people in restaurants don’t have insurance, but it’s worse than I thought,” she explains. “Even if they want to get help, it doesn’t mean there’s something they can afford, and there’s something they can do when they can.”
As for why there are so many “problematic” people in the restaurant business, this is a case of chicken and chicken. “It’s an industry that still has no barriers to employment, and if you’re willing to work, you can get a job — you don’t have to have an English or high school degree,” said Kevin Finch, a professor at the university of California, San Francisco.
Finch is the executive director of the Big Table, a Washington state organization that helps individuals and community building professionals with a dual approach. They host regular dinners and people who serve others have waited. Large table volunteers use dinner and other opportunities to ask industry professionals to refer to people in need. The help can range from paying phone bills or replacing stolen bikes to repairing a damaged tooth.
The big table also has a volunteer group that meets regularly with struggling industry workers and can mobilize professional resources to help them. People who work in restaurants may have many reasons to get into trouble, but they have one thing in common: how many people can benefit from a little help. As finch puts it: “without any obstacles, you’re in the most vulnerable group under the same roof.”
Even as The Atlanta Giving Kitchen such organization, original is for The purpose of serious illness, accident or unable to work due to natural disasters restaurant employees help, eventually became The drug and alcohol abuse of emergency resource problems or mental illness.
Bryan Schroeder, executive director, said: “it’s not part of the plan, it’s a necessity. There are enough people in these places to ask for help, and they have developed a wide network of resources in their office computers and laptops. They are now using a website to publish information they want to release in the coming months, known as SafetyNet.
Many of these groups work at the supranational level, and there are many places in the country where there is no dedicated field help for restaurant staff. Those outside the current coverage must rely on support such as the Chefs with Issues Facebook, which provides an online version of the support group. It’s not ideal, but everyone seems to agree that it’s important to put the restaurant community together and support each other. When your community is the best.
As Schroeder described “to the kitchen,” “build a community small enough to serve thousands of people, and we hope to have millions of people someday.”
People in the restaurant business often put everything on top of their needs, so maybe help each other. “The people in the kitchen are the best people in the world. They are generous and kind, and everyone eats their own meals,” said kingsman.