Mental Health Matters

BY Sonia Riggs


Mental Health Matters

Dek goes here…

Work hard. Play hard. Repeat. There’s a lot of fun and rewarding opportunities to be had in our industry, but there are also long shifts, physical demands, at-times unruly guests, and late nights, which can lead to unhealthy habits and substance misuse. Add pandemic troubles that came with shutdowns, labor shortages, mask mandates, and contagious variants, and you’ve got a recipe for an industry-wide mental health crisis. 

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. The good news is that restaurant culture is already changing across Colorado. More than one-third of local operators have added new benefits in the past year, providing workers with paid vacation, medical and dental insurance, and more. Operators are expanding existing health-and-wellness programming for their teams, while others are finding innovative ways to support their workers—and themselves. 

The Colorado Restaurant Foundation (CRF), the philanthropic arm of the Colorado Restaurant Association, supports and advances the state’s hospitality workforce, so it’s here for this timely sea change. As of early May (Mental Health Awareness Month), the CRF has launched a new health-and-wellness resource center at a hub where all restaurant employees can access crisis and support hotlines, community groups, health providers, and educational resources about mental, physical, and financial health and wellness.

Go there to learn about affordable mental health services from our partners at Khesed Wellness and United Healthcare. Go there to find out more about the meetings, trainings, and tools that Denver-based CHOW (Culinary Hospitality Outreach and Wellness) and Durango-based In the Weeds offer each day. Go to apply for a CRF Angel Relief Fund grant, which now includes funding for mental health treatment for restaurant workers. Go for information and training on financial literacy and wellness. Go to discover industry podcasts like Focus on Health or Chewed Up and Spit Out

The CRF team will continue adding to the site in the months and years to come; we’d love your feedback on what should be there so we can build a healthier reality for our industry together. Please email us any time at

Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to


Sonia Riggs

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