Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 51

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY gets proactive SACRAMENTO RESTAURATEUR SERVES UP MENTAL HEALTH TRAINING The Tuesday after renowned chef Anthony Bourdain committed suicide, Patrick Mulvaney asked for help. The owner of Mulvaney’s B&L restaurant in Midtown Sacramento could no longer cook in good conscience — but he needed guidance. To a group of 15 people, including representatives from WellSpace Health, the Steinberg Institute, Kaiser Permanente and the National Council for Behavioral Health, he pitched an idea for a mental health first-aid training program for food workers. Mental health first aid is about knowing how to ask questions, be available and direct someone to resources for support, he says. This month, after three trainings, Mulvaney expects to have about 75 Sacramento food workers trained. This is a big step for the industry, he says, because food workers often put mental health on the backburner. “We view ourselves as outsiders,” Mulvaney says. “In hospitality, we’re always concerned about how others are doing, but it’s an interesting flip to think about how we’re doing ourselves.” Mulvaney says this is a world of long hours, where sleep-deprived chefs remain separated from friends and family for extended periods, leading to a host of problems such as mental degradation and substance abuse. “Late hours aren’t good, drugs and alcohol, not eating, sleeping or exercising are all contributing factors,” Mulvaney says. “But rather than saying it’s drugs, it’s alcohol, it’s suicide, we can begin to talk about the un- derlying issue and talk about how we can get better.” The California Restaurant Association supports Mulvaney’s program and plans to help collate funding sources to expand the program potentially nationwide, according to Sharokina Shams, vice president of public affairs. “With more awareness — along with real, tangible help for those who are suffering — we just might be able to prevent another tragic loss,” Shams says. “But it will take a team effort from restaurants, caring do- nors willing to offer financial support and dedicated journalists bringing attention to the issue.” Mulvaney believes this model could also spread into other industries facing similar struggles. While he acknowledges the fix won’t help everyone, “we just want resources to help the ones we can.” — Russell Nichols ing behavioral health intervention. And although it’s 2018 and we would hope that the stigma around experiencing mental health issues no longer exists, we aren’t there yet.” LET’S TALK ABOUT SHAME Preventative care is critical because sufferers who don’t get help early pay a much bigger price. “If people don’t come for services when they’re starting to experience mental disorders, a good proportion comes in for emergency services, which are 10 times more expensive,” says Aguilar-Gaxio- la. “It’s either pay now or pay much more later.” Stigma regarding mental health issues — whether social or self-motivated — can keep many from asking for help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. “A significant component of access has to do with changing the narrative in our region,” says Dr. John Boyd, CEO of Mental Health Services for Sut- ter Health. “There is so much social prejudice that even someone who has the resources to get care and knows where to go oftentimes won’t because of the mental health stigma.” Boyd says that the 2009 closing of the county’s Crisis Stabilization Unit “reflected how broken our system was.” Sutter Health is currently the only health system in the region that owns and oper- ates a freestanding nonprofit psychiatric hospital. “Whether it’s private pay or public-sector reim- November 2018 | comstocksmag.com 51