SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Patrick Mulvaney, chef and owner of Mulvaney’s Building and Loan restaurant in Sacramento, is on a personal mission to address poor mental health in the restaurant and service industry.

On Wednesday evening, PBS NewsHour featured Mulvaney’s work to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and launch a program to help those struggling with their mental health.

He spoke with ABC10 about his efforts in February.

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In 2018, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain took his own life, as did several people in Sacramento’s restaurant and service industry. That prompted Mulvaney to do something.

“We really started to talk about it more seriously, about mental health and what our responsibility was to other people in our industry,” Mulvaney told ABC10 in February.

Mulvaney and more than a dozen Sacramento chefs met with mental health experts and other community partners to create “I Got Your Back,” a new peer-to-peer support program for the hospitality and restaurant industry.

One person on every shift will wear on their shirt a logo with a purple hand, designating them as a safe person to come to. That person will have been trained in how to talk with their co-workers about mental health issues.

“They'll be able to say to you, 'Are you okay? Are you having a problem?'” Mulvaney said, adding that their colleagues “will know that they'll be a safe person, so you can say, 'Hey, I'm anxious or depressed.'"

His goal is to create a safe environment that supports discussion – not bottling up difficult emotions.

"If we can create an environment where there is conversation, where we see people healing - because you can get better,” Mulvaney said, “and that can only come if there is an ability to talk about it.”

Together, with multiple national and community partners -- including the James Beard Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and the Steinberg Institute -- Mulvaney is creating a movement, addressing and de-stigmatizing mental health issues in his industry.

If you or someone you love are considering hurting yourself, help is available.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
    1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE
  • 24-Hour Suicide Prevention Crisis Line
    (916) 368 3111 or 1-800-273-8255

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