According to research by the Culinary Hospitality Outreach Wellness (CHOW) organization, a staggering 63% of hospitality workers suffer from depression, and 84% feel stress from their jobs.
To help combat these alarming statistics, CHOW has introduced a toolkit and other resources to help Coloradans and others across the nation working in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries to improve their mental health. The hospitality industry is one of Colorado’s top employers statewide, and for professionals in the meetings and events sector, an increase in the number of culinary employees who feel supported and healthy results in positive hospitality experiences. Many of the venues featured in Colorado Meetings + Events are top employers.
CHOW’s services include a private Mental Health America assessment, a curated list of resources, and virtual and in-person discussions open to everyone from chefs and bartenders to farmers, suppliers, and industry veterans. A calendar of events shows in-person and hybrid meetings in Vail, Fort Collins, and Steamboat Springs.
“We envision a food, beverage, and hospitality industry that welcomes folks to show up as their whole self, challenges and successes included, and becomes richer for it,” says Jasmin Parks-Papadopoulos, CHOW head of community. “We meet this vision with activation like education, discussion groups, and resource brokering to offer vocationally specific support.”
CHOW also provides resource brokering, which can connect food and beverage hospitality workers with additional services such as nutrition advice, financial planning, and addiction resources. The organization reports it provided 240 hours of free mental health training in 2022 and connected with over 12,000 people.
Parks-Papadopoulos explains that the services are all offered confidentially, but they extend to a wide group. “We believe in a sustainable workforce where we can all remain in the industry, empowered with resources, support, and healthful systems of communication.”
In a previous news report, Colorado restaurant server Mike Tubolino discussed the importance of CHOW’s program and the impact on the industry: “I hope people realize how important restaurants are. We’re at the center of communities, and workers are part of the community,” he told CBS Colorado. “As a consumer, being kind and considerate to the other human on the other end of the table is the first thing you can do.”