Chef Patrick Mulvaney, one of the most influential chefs of Sacramento (California, USA) and co-owner of the restaurant Mulvaney’s B&L, has created the “I Got Your Back” movement to deal with any potential mental health problems of the employees of his restaurant.
Stress has negative consequences in Sacramento’s kitchens
As a result of the high level of stress and anxiety suffered by some employees in the sector, there have been cases of workers who have had serious mental health problems that have led to suicide or substance abuse in order to be able to continue with their daily routine.
“I Got Your Back”, the programme that wants to change all that
The suicide of Anthony Bourdain, famous chef, writer and TV presenter, prompted Patrick Mulvaney to start a programme for his employees called “I Got Your Back”.
The goal of this programme was to provide his employees with the necessary tools to identify any possible personal problems they might have before they became an issue. For this chef, it is vital to form a consolidated group to generate a safe environment that encourages workers to communicate with each other.
The programme is very simple. At least one employee of the chef’s restaurant is trained to listen to his/her colleagues’ mental health and addiction problems. In the event that a serious personal problem is detected, they are simply referred to medical professionals.
The main idea of this programme is to create a self-support structure. A solid structure where everyone has someone they can trust in and share their personal problems with. In short, to detect possible problems and resolve them before they get out of hand.
“The programme also includes an informative website that allows us to keep a record of our mental health.”
Communication is the key.
The hotel and restaurant sector is an industry with a problem no-one likes to talk about. But the fact that no-one talks about it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, so sharing these problems and talking about them openly in the workplace is a good way to start to combat the problem. Patrick Mulvaney’s programme is proof of this.