Stories / Impact

How We're Taking Part In Mental Health Action Day

Debbie Holloway

May 13, 2021


Blue background with yellow highlight and text that says Mental Health Action Day, May 20

This has been a year of intense challenges for this entire industry. We’ve been faced with all sorts of grief, from illness and death to job losses and shuttered businesses—and all of it largely in isolation, separated from our communities. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and mental health has never been more important to prioritize and maintain.

On May 20, the James Beard Foundation will be participating in the first-ever Mental Health Action Day (MHAD), an initiative bringing together media brands, local and national nonprofit organizations, technology companies, influencers, and more to shift from mental health awareness to mental health action. You can find out more about MHAD events, partners, and goals at and sign up here to become a partner!

On May 20 at 2:00 P.M. ET, we’ll be hosting a special virtual event: Feeding the Soul: Grief, Loss, and Healing in a Pandemic, presented in collaboration with Reimagine, an organization that inspires individuals, families, and communities to transform our experience around illness, dying, death, grieving, and living. This panel will be a space to reflect on the extended  period of illness and death arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ways that planting, harvesting, eating, and sharing food has helped—and can help—us navigate loss together. Take a look at the panel participants and register today.

Later this month, the Beard Foundation will have its inaugural conversation on Clubhouse, a new audio-based social media platform still in beta testing. On May 26, we’ll talk about The Dark Side of the Plate: Mental Health and Substance-Use Challenges in the Hospitality Industry, a conversation moderated and co-presented by Hassel Aviles from Beard Foundation community partner Not 9 to 5, a Toronto-based leading organization in mental health advocacy that focuses on the food and beverage sector. If you’re a Clubhouse user, join us at 2:00 P.M. ET on Wednesday, May 26.

Looking for more mental health resources?

Catch up on these James Beard Foundation industry support webinars featuring Not 9 to 5:

Not 9 to 5 has created a survey to gather more data on the mental health and substance use challenges in the North American restaurant, food service, and hospitality industry. Fill out the survey here and please share with others.

Check out these mental health blog posts from our archive:


Debbie Holloway is impact and community coordinator at the James Beard Foundation.