Not 9 to 5 is a Canadian non-profit empowering hospitality workers by mobilizing support around mental health and substance use in the food and beverage industry. Our focus is on promoting harm reduction practices and connecting the workforce to mental wellness resources

Research in the US confirms that hospitality workers have an increased risk of experiencing challenges to their mental health or substance dependency issues compared to the national average. The Canadian industry shares many of the same contributing factors: precarious employment, high-pressure environments, unpredictable and long hours, lack of benefits, and enormous pressure. Stemming from work environments that lack psychological safety and support, service workers in the culinary sector have been impacted by any or all of these issues, and yet mental health needs are not widely recognized or supported.

By sharing first hand knowledge, stories and resources, we're working to influence the Canadian food and beverage service industry to reduce stigma and normalize the mental health and addiction conversation.

Do you work in the hospitality industry? Can you spare 2 minutes? Please fill out our mental health survey. We have heard from 500+ industry workers and use this data to apply for funding and build industry-specific resources.

We’re living in a time of crisis and death from the C19 pandemic and systemic racism. Although we’re in a time of loss, it’s truly beautiful to see the community support each other. Coming together is what will help us survive and ease our mental health in this uncertain time.


The hospitality service industry is built on the passion of people. It’s a tough industry with unique pressures and challenges and this unites us with a powerful camaraderie.  This industry is not held together by food or beverage products, the unity comes from people. Human connection is more important than ever before, despite our physical distance. Now is our chance to unite and take care of our community. 


It’s rare that we stop to look around and reflect on what's happening in our business, and in our industry as a whole. This time is an opportunity to reimagine and grow beyond the archaic principles and systems that no longer serve us. We are presented with a crisis that we will only overcome if we unite and we need your help to share this message of hope across our industry and the country. 


Coping tips for taking care of mental health during this time:

  • Check in. Physical distancing doesn’t mean losing social connection. Check in with yourself and your community, frequently! Pay attention to your thoughts and Text, call, or video chat, whatever works. Isolation is difficult.

  • Active listening.  When people are talking, listen and don’t focus on your response. Empathize, even if you don’t agree with them. It’s a scary time and it has a different effect on each of us. All of us want to be heard but don’t necessarily want advice. 

  • Leverage technology. Use apps or software to connect with your community and explore online mental health and addiction resources. Try FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp to stay connected, try online therapy and check out our directory of online mental health resources

  • Spend time in nature. Get outside for fresh air. Visit parks, ravines, lakefront or just a walk around the block noticing around you like plants, trees, flowers and animals. 

  • Move your body. Physical exercise, gentle or rigorous is vital. Now that we’re mostly at home, we need it more than ever. Whatever works, just move. 

  • Eat well. Be mindful of what you eat. Use food to boost your immune system. Avoid eating different shades of brown or beige. Incorporate all colours of the rainbow with more fruit and vegetables into your diet.

  • Limit your social media and news intake. Set limited time to check in to avoid endless scrolling. Get your news from credible, trusted sources and curate your feeds.

  • Make a new routine. Try to schedule your time to include what’s important. Things have changed, we must adapt and there’s great benefit from creating predictability in your day. 

  • Rest. Take equal time to rest as you do to work, and fight the urge to always be productive. The practice of rest helps your mind and body rejuvenate, reflect, reimagine and refuel. 

Please reach out to us if you have any questions, or even just want someone to listen. In this time of crisis, we send you hope. 

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