Let’s “86” mental health stigma.

NEED HELP? If you’re experiencing a crisis, Text HOPE to 916-668-4226 for 24/7 confidential support.

NEED A PATH TO CARE? If you’re not sure where to turn for health care services, Sacramento Covered can guide you to the medical or mental health care you need. Just call Toll Free 1-866-850-4321 or visit The Pantry.

NEED MORE INFO? If you’re interested in more information about I Got Your Back, read on or contact us.

We have your back.

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1 in 5
Americans live with a mental illness.
of full-time food service and hospitality employees suffer from substance abuse disorders.
of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.
increase in the rate of suicide from 1999 to 2016 in the United States.

The Project

“Ours is an industry with a problem we don’t like to talk about, but we can’t keep shying away from the hard conversations. I Got Your Back is peer-to-peer support that helps us watch for signs of distress and gives us a safe place to talk about our personal struggles.”

– Bobbin Mulvaney, owner of the Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, California

It all started with a simple decision: To allow it to be okay not to be okay.

The goal is to provide tools and skills to identify and talk about mental health issues in a safe environment that encourages people to seek help they may need.

It was this culture change that co-owners Patrick and Bobbin introduced at Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, CA with the help of the Innovation Learning Network. Together they inspired a new system where employees drop a card into an anonymous box when they clock in for a shift. This gives employees a safe place to express their state of mind and the floor manager a new method for knowing how the crew is doing and feeling. Taking a temperature of the crew this way alerts the manager to red flags they might not otherwise have known and it presents the chance to check-in and offer support.

The pilot project was named
“I Got Your Back.”

Pilot program participating restaurants: Binchoyaki, Scott’s Seafood, Selland’s East Sac, Selland’s Broadway, Selland’s El Dorado, Ella Dining Room and Bar, OBO’ Italian Table & Bar, The Kitchen, Randy Peters Catering, Waterboy, Rio City Café, Hook & LadderMulvaney’s B&L

Recognizing immense impact potential, Sacramento’s four major health care systems, along with the region’s NBA team – Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, UC Davis Medical Center, and the Sacramento Kings – have come together to provide both mental health resources and project funding. Other partners include Innovation Learning Network, WellSpace Health, The Steinberg Institute and the James Beard Foundation.

The Project

I Got Your Back teaches employees to look for warning signs, creates acceptance and a safe environment to talk about personal crisis and provides access to resources for those struggling.

How it Works

At least one restaurant employee trained in peer counseling is available to listen to co-workers’ mental health and addiction troubles. There’s also universal acceptance that this team member has a green light to seek out co-workers who they believe may be battling a private crisis. The employee wears a purple hand marker so everyone on the crew knows who’s got their back.

Next Steps

Scaling IGYB training, wellness culture and mood checks to kitchens across Sacramento’s food service industry by creating a “Recipe Book” that lays out the road map for others to install their own program.

Our Purpose

I Got Your Back isn’t an organization. It’s a promise.

It’s a promise to work together to support our peers and reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and related issues. Grief inspired the IGYB program after a sudden rash of suicides and overdoses in the restaurant industry hit Sacramento hard in late 2018 and early 2019. IGYB is converting grief and sadness into courage and optimism and we hope to see it spread from restaurant to restaurant, city to city and industry to industry.

Why We Care

The hospitality industry is a close-knit family. We are trained to take care of others. We welcome guests, make customers feel comfortable, and see to their every need. Our job is to put smiles on people’s faces.

Then why is it that we don’t take care for ourselves the same way? Physically demanding work, odd hours and prevalence of substance abuse threaten mental well-being across the food and service industry.

I Got Your Back is a statement that says it’s not okay to shrug off the warning signs.

“Restaurant work can be fast-paced, stressful and nocturnal. It requires thick skin and talent, not a college degree. It’s an industry where facial tattoos and criminal records don’t prohibit career advancement, and shifts that begin at 2 p.m. leave plenty of time to sleep off last night’s hangover.”

– Patrick Mulvaney, owner of the Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, California

“The startling suicide of Anthony Bourdain and others here in my hometown of Sacramento brought home for me how inadequate mental health services are for those in my industry.”

– Patrick Mulvaney, owner of the Mulvaney’s B&L in Sacramento, California

The facts matter:

Nearly 17 percent of full-time food service and hospitality employees suffer from substance abuse disorders, more than any other employment sector, according to a 2015 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study.

The food and hospitality industry has the highest rate of employees with substance use disorder of any industry. (1)

The greater Sacramento region employs 100,000+ people in leisure & hospitality and added thousands of jobs to this sector in the last year. (3)

A 2016 survey of more than 2,000 restaurant workers from a national nonprofit called Chefs with Issues found that 73 percent reported suffering from multiple mental health conditions.

Food and beverage service is considered the unhealthiest industry for employees. (2)

2015 study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that food service employees had the highest rates of illicit drug use compared to 18 other occupations.

Sacramento County’s suicide rate is significantly higher compared to the rate statewide. (4)

Mental and behavioral health is a pressing need in Sacramento communities, so much so that it was the top priority identified in both Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health Community Needs Assessments conducted in 2016. (5)


The Pantry

Resources for those in crisis.

Learn More

Recipe Book

A roadmap to the IGYB program.

Learn More


Call us, fund us, join us.

Get Involved

If you are in distress or need support, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or text HOPE to 916-668-4226.

Visit the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website

The Latest News

Latest News
October 11, 2019

KFBK Interview: “I Got Your Back” Addresses Mental Health in the Restaurant Community

  I Got Your Back's co-founder, Bobbin Mulvaney, sat down with Kitty O'Neal to discuss the project on World Mental Health Day. Mulvaney and O'Neal discuss how grief inspired the IGYB program after a sudden rash of suicides and overdoses in the restaurant industry hit Sacramento hard in late 2018…
Latest News
June 27, 2019

On Anthony Bourdain’s birthday, a Sacramento mental health drive he inspired aims to expand

As fans around the world Tuesday mark what would have been the 63rd birthday of celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain, organizers of a grassroots movement in Sacramento restaurants are expanding their efforts to foster a kitchen culture that supports the mental health of its workers. Head chef Patrick…
Latest News
June 27, 2019

Many workers face serious pressure and mental health challenges. Here’s a way to help.

It’s been a year since news broke of Anthony Bourdain’s passing on June 8. Today, the celebrity chef, author and travel documentarian should be celebrating his 62nd birthday. Both dates stir up emotions for a lot of people, but for us who enjoy the hospitality profession, it conjures an unsettling reminder…


IGYB is a pilot program to address issues associated with mental illness and addiction across Sacramento-area kitchens, but we believe we’re designing a model for the nation that can help any industry in any city.

Use the contact form below to “make a reservation” if you’re a restaurant that wants to learn more about how participate in the IGYB training program, if you’d like to make a financial contribution or if you want to lend a hand some other way. We’d gladly put your contributions to good use.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_1959/ShortReport-1959.html
  2. http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/sites/default/files/Mind%20the%20Workplace%20-%20MHA%20Workplace%20Health%20Survey%202017%20FINAL.pdf
  3. https://www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/file/lfmonth/sacr$pds.pdf
  4. https://wisqars.cdc.gov:8443/cdcMapFramework/mapModuleInterface.jsp
  5. https://www.sutterhealth.org/pdf/for-patients/chna/scp-2016-chna.pdf;
  6. https://share.kaiserpermanente.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016-KFH-South-Sacramento-CHNA_Final_Remediated.pdf