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GlobeNewsWire Press Release 

Toronto, March 7, 2022

Not 9 to 5 launches revolutionary mental health support program for foodservice professionals.

The world’s first digital community platform designed for hospitality workers by hospitality workers

Today, Not 9 to 5, a global non-profit organization based in Toronto advocating for mental health in the foodservice industry, launched CNECTed, a groundbreaking training and certification course in an effort to increase accessibility to mental health education after the industry reached a peak of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tailored to the hospitality industry and served through the online platform CNECTing, certification costs $44.95 and was designed and developed through funding by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre. CNECTed’s content is written in everyday language, and addresses specific pain points that exist in the hospitality and foodservice industry. This comprehensive tool includes 5 modules on understanding mental health, stress & trauma, depression, anxiety, and substance use.
For restaurant staff, stress has been on the menu since before the pandemic. Not 9 to 5 conducted a survey between 2019 and 2020, revealing that 90% of workers said yes to experiencing mental health and substance use challenges and access to mental health support was not affordable due to low wages. Based on Not 9 to 5’s 2021 research report, those still working as front-line staff in food and beverage have reported experiencing a ripple-effect of burnout (87%), depression (77%), high levels of anxiety (84%) as well as disordered eating (63%). A report by Deloitte indicates it’s good business sense to invest in mental health training and yields a strong ROI within 3 years.
Fearing existing challenges that hospitality professionals face, industry veteran, advocate and Not 9 to 5 Executive Director, Hassel Aviles knew there was a need to facilitate affordable training, resources and solutions.
“The hospitality industry has a 75% turnover rate. CNECTed is my love letter for the foodservice sector that encourages the investment in inclusive mental health education and equipping workplaces with skills to provide psychological safety,” says Aviles.
The organization’s coalition bridges mental health expertise with industry-specific resources that were consulted with licensed professional counselor and industry veteran Laura Green of Healthy Pour. “CNECTed creates a responsible bridge between the industry and evidence-based practice. Understanding what is happening to us means we can take the next steps,” says Laura. 
Industry insiders and organizations across North America have given their stamp of approval to the program.
“By providing industry specific resources and certifications like CNECTing, we can support our members, and an industry that, pre-pandemic, employed over 1.2 million Canadians, which can help improve the industry’s overall well-being,” says Roberto Sarjoo, Director of Marketing at Restaurants Canada.
“The James Beard Foundation values the opportunity for all individuals in the food and beverage industry to access the tools for a healthy body, mind and spirit. We appreciate our community partner, Not 9 to 5, and their work to ensure that mental wellness becomes an integral part of our industry,” says Colleen Vincent, VP of Community at The James Beard Foundation.
CNECTing takes a disruptive approach to mental health support by offering free online tools including an educational guidebook for all members. Hospitality workers and business owners are invited to join CNECTing (for free) and get CNECTed certified ($44.95 CAD and $35 USD).

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Jessica Nudo, PR liaison


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