The recent survey on burnout at craft breweries has helped to call attention to issues such as compensation, creative autonomy for staff, and work-life balance. However, there’s another dimension to the problem that rarely gets attention in the industry, and on-the-job stress is only part of it: mental health.
Infinite Ingredient, the nonprofit that conducted the recent survey on burnout in the industry, has a stated mission to support the “mental and physical well-being” of people working in the craft-beverage industry. Its website lists several resources for anyone who’s reached a point of distress. These include:
- The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, a free crisis hotline and information resource run by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. To use it, simply dial 988 or use the website’s online chat service. It also features specialized resources for minorities, those living with autism, coping with grief, and more.
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention also refers those in need to the 988 hotline, with more advice and information about locally based programs on its website.
- The nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness also has a HelpLine (1-800-950-NAMI) and online resources to help anyone who may be navigating a mental-health emergency.
Another issue directly connected to mental health—and common in the industry, if not always openly discussed—is substance abuse, particularly alcoholism. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration maintains a national hotline (1-800-662-HELP) with more resources at samhsa.gov. The Partnership to End Addiction also has a trove of resources on its website, and you can text the word CONNECT to 55735 to get directly in touch with a specialist.
The Brewers Association has an information page for its members aimed at helping employers identify and support staff who may be struggling with substance abuse, as well as a broader guide to mental health in the industry. The 2019 Craft Brewers Conference in Denver also featured a seminar devoted to mental health in the industry, and that presentation is still available here.
Breweries that want to get more directly involved in raising awareness of the issue can also join the open-source Things We Don’t Say collaboration. Wandering Soul Beer in Beverly, Massachusetts, released the first Things We Don’t Say beer in 2019. Milwaukee’s Eagle Park Brewing led an expanded, open-invitation collaboration in 2021 in cooperation with Chicago-based nonprofit Hope for the Day and support from Malteurop and Hollingbery & Son Hops. For more information or to get involved, see thingswedontsay.beer.