Suerte co-owner Sam Hellman-Mass is partnering with other members of the restaurant community to provide low-cost teletherapy through the Mike & Sherry Project. Though it started in March of 2019 as a pilot program, it is now open to all restaurant and bar employees in Austin and is accepting donations from the community.
The Mike and Sherry Project partners with Capital Area Counseling to provide the services, which are offered on a sliding scale starting at $15 a session. The program has provided over 1,000 sessions since March in its pilot group, which included Suerte, Franklin Barbecue, FBR Management (including DuMont’s Down Low, Gibson Street Bar, Star Bar, Mean Eyed Cat, Lala’s, Lavaca Street Bar), Épicerie, Eldorado Cafe, L’Oca d’Oro, and others.
Members of the bar and restaurant community who would like to schedule an appointment (regardless of current employment status) can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a press release, Hellman-Mass shared, “I became aware of the need for mental health in the restaurant community and was inspired by longtime customers Mike Shefman and Sherry Greenberg, who are regulars in the Austin restaurant scene.”
Funds raised by the program will go towards bridging the gap for service workers who cannot afford the per-session fee and hiring counseling interns for the summer from local universities.