Southern Smoke Foundation Mental Health Program

The Southern Smoke Foundation (SSF) has announced they’ll be partnering with the University of Maine to pilot their mental health program for food and beverage workers in Maine this summer. The program is called Behind You.

SSF is providing a grant to University of Maine’s Psychology Services Center to provide no-cost counseling to F+B workers across Maine through the Behind You program. A Behind You grant covers the cost of counseling for F+B workers who qualify through the SSF website and allows student clinicians to diversify their training by seeing a community of seasoned F+B workers with various backgrounds. A licensed clinical supervisor and the university program director supervise all student clinicians. In addition, SSF requires university partners to provide telehealth services to increase accessibility for workers with demanding schedules or living in rural areas with limited access to in-person services. The initial grant will be for a pilot program with hopes of expanding services in 2025.

SSF credits Jordan Rubin—co-owner of Mr. Tuna, Bar Futo and Crispy Gai—with advocating to SSF to bring Behind You to Maine.

“I’ve gotten the chance to work alongside the team at Southern Smoke Foundation for a few years now – whether that’s cooking at their annual Southern Smoke Festival in Houston, TX, or connecting my staff and friends in the industry with them to apply for Emergency Relief Funding,” said chef Jordan Rubin. “The fact that the Behind You program will now also be available to my team and other food and beverage workers across Maine to receive free counseling if they’re interested makes me so happy.”

Here’s a link to the full press release from SSF. The Southern Smoke Foundation also offers an Emergency Relief program for food and beverage workers.