The Mike & Sherry Project, a pilot program designed to make mental health care more accessible to members of the Austin service industry, is opening its resources to all members of the Austin bar and restaurant community impacted by COVID-19.
“Partners like the Mike & Sherry Project allow us to ensure that finances are never a barrier for care. We will work with you to get you the highest-quality of care.”
The Project was envisioned by local restaurateur Sam Hellman-Mass, owner of Austin-based Suerte, in partnership with Capital Area Counseling, (CAC), which has provided low-cost, effective and accessible counseling to Central Texans for 40 years. CAC is offering low-cost tele-therapy services to members of the Austin bar and restaurant industry, regardless of employment status due to dining room closures with help from the fundraising efforts of the Mike & Sherry Project. Pricing is determined by an income-based sliding scale with appointments as low as $15. Funds raised by the Project go towards subsidizing appointment fees and supporting 30 new summer counseling interns from four Austin-area universities.
“We are still here and we are still providing services for anyone who needs it,” said Jaime Telfeyan, Executive Director of CAC and founding member of the Mike & Sherry Project. “Partners like the Mike & Sherry Project allow us to ensure that finances are never a barrier for care. We will work with you to get you the highest-quality of care.”
The Project originally launched its pilot in March of 2019 with 10 participating locally-owned restaurants and bars, including Suerte, FBR Management (including Dumonts Down Low, Gibson Street Bar, Star Bar, Mean Eyed Cat, Lala’s, Lavaca Street Bar), Franklin Barbecue, Épicerie, Eldorado Cafe and L’Oca d’Oro. Since the pilot launched, it has provided more than 1,000 therapy sessions to members of the service industry. The pilot program recently expanded to include Bufalina, Olamaie, Odd Duck, Sour Duck, and Barley Swine.
“I’ve worked alongside so many wonderful people in all areas of the restaurant industry who, at times, needed help to be their best,” said Hellman-Mass. “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.”
The Mike & Sherry Project is asking those who are able to support accessible mental healthcare for Austin’s bar and restaurant workers with a donation to the project. Donations are tax deductible. Find the Project on Facebook and Instagram.
To arrange for counseling, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE MIKE & SHERRY PROJECT
The Mike & Sherry Project was created in 2019 with the mission to provide accessible mental health care to individuals working in the Austin restaurant and bar industry. The Project has arranged a flat fee per appointment for counseling services with Capital Area Counseling, a psychotherapy center providing affordable, accessible, high-quality mental health services to all Central Texans. Bars and restaurants participating in the program split a portion of that fee with employees who seek counseling services. The Project was named for Mike Shefman and Sherry Greenberg, who are staples in the local food scene and have become an integral and invested part of the Austin community.