The restaurant and hospitality industries are high-paced and high-stress—and have some of the highest rates of mental illness in any field. For staff in these industries, it’s the nature of the job to look after everyone else and put themselves last. And for many, the intensity of the roles can lead to burnout, which can make it feel like addressing their mental health is “too little, too late.”
These industries experience heightened rates of drug use, mental health issues, and harassment—and for many folks working in restaurants or hospitality, a poor quality of life. So, how do we initiate change in addressing mental health? How can we help individuals feel valued, seen, and heard when they’re concerned about their own mental health? And in what ways can we instill changes in these industries?
In this session, Food & Wine Magazine’s Kat Kinsman, MIDA Boston’s Douglass Williams, and McLean Hospital’s Ipsit Vahia, MD, discuss ways to recognize crisis in yourself and others, share methods to have constructive—and productive—conversations about mental health, and answer audience questions about mental health in two critical industries.
Harvard Medical School
Joseph B. Martin Conference Center
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115
Douglass Williams has the hospitality industry in his blood–he was taught to make scrambled eggs with a wooden spoon at just four years of age. At seventeen, following surgery for Crohn’s disease and fueled by a newfound interest in wellness, Williams learned about cooking using clean foods and whole produce. He enrolled in culinary school, earning a degree from The Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cape Community College.
In his culinary explorations, he has traveled through Southeast Asia, working at an entirely sustainable resort in Chumphon as well as Sardinia. Following working in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York and Paris, he opened MIDA, an Italian influenced neighborhood restaurant, in Boston’s South End.
Kat Kinsman is senior editor at Food & Wine Magazine, author of Hi, Anxiety: Life With a Bad Case of Nerves, host of Food & Wine's Communal Table podcast, and founder of Chefs With Issues.
Previously, she was the senior food & drinks editor at Extra Crispy, editor-in-chief and editor at large at Tasting Table, and the founding editor of CNN Eatocracy.
She is a frequent public speaker on the topics of food and mental health, won a 2020 IACP Award for Personal Essay/Memoir, and has had work included in the 2020 and 2016 editions of The Best American Food Writing.
Ipsit Vahia, MD, is a geriatric psychiatrist, clinician, and researcher. He is the medical director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services at McLean Hospital and the McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry. He is also the director of the Technology and Aging Laboratory.
Dr. Vahia serves on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Council on Geriatric Psychiatry and the Geriatric Psychiatry Committee of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
April 13, 202004/13
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