A BRIGHTER TOMORROW: Requiem Alliance focusing on mental health in service industry | A Brighter Tommorrow

COLOMBIA – Restaurant workers are banding together to create an alliance to increase the focus on mental health in the service industry.

The Requiem Alliance shared its message in a Facebook post.

“We work in a tough industry as hell frankly. A lot of us are stressed, underpaid, uninsured, and unsure if we can rent next month.

This obviously takes a toll on our mental health, and our minds are left like boiling pots. Our work is stressful, and at times ungrateful. However, we go every time, do the best we can, smile, and do our best to make it happen.

I know as well as you do, that a smile isn’t always real, that rent isn’t always paid, that pot is boiling.

Having said that, if there’s one thing I’m sure of – despite the struggle and toil – I know that we love what we do, and that we love each other. This is why it is so important to start this initiative.”

Olivia Benner is a co-founder of the Church Mass Alliance. She said they decided to set up the organization after a fellow restaurant worker and friend committed suicide.

“There have been many suicides in the service industry, as well as a lot of deaths from overdose,” Benner said. “this [group] It is something long overdue, and the strategies we used as a group to tackle the problem on our own, or with each other, didn’t work. Because our friends keep dying.”

Co-founder Joe Jeffries has worked in the service industry his entire life. He said the job can negatively affect people’s mental health.

“These losses were so frequent, so difficult and so often so unexpected, that there was a certain numbness of grief, as we mourned over and over again,” Jeffries said.

Boehner said that the unpredictability of the service industry does not always provide the stability that people need. She said the group’s current goal is to offer mental health treatment to as many people as possible.

“We just want to make sure that people get the mental health care they need and that as many barriers to accessing that care as possible are removed as possible,” Benner said.

She said she hopes the group will give service industry workers hope for the future.

“The industry community is made up of some of the most amazing people I’ve met in my entire life,” Benner said. “I have never seen a group more supportive and more cohesive like a group of people more like, loyal and committed. This is my way of giving back that love that was shown to me.”

Jeffries said he’s happy to be a part of Colombia’s service industry, even during some tough work days.

“You have to be flexible with it and back in. Take the blows as they happen, but remember that overall, this is a really nice industry to be in, again, it’s about people.”

The organization hosted the Narcan Overdose Prevention and Management meeting. Training in hazard identification was provided and Narcan was provided free of charge to attend.

The Requiem Alliance is currently applying to be incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information on how to participate in the Requiem Alliance, visit the Facebook page.

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