Peace of mind

Nashville restaurants attend to workers' mental health

Crystal Watson Dockery (left) and Big Table’s Becky Kinder/ Photo by Mark Blankenship
Crystal Watson Dockery (left) and Big Table’s Becky Kinder/ Photo by Mark Blankenship
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Crystal Watson Dockery has helped several people get jobs at Cafe Intermezzo, and it’s not only because she likes working there. She figures once they sign on at this European-themed coffee house in the Gulch, she can help them get sober.

Anyone who knows about the rampant substance abuse in the hospitality industry may raise an eyebrow at this idea, but Dockery’s own life is proof that restaurant work can be a salve. Just over a year ago, she was living in a tent in her hometown of Madisonville, Tennessee; struggling with meth addiction; and facing a felony conviction. Given the choice between jail time and rehab, she moved to a faith-based recovery home in Nashville, which is how she met the friend who helped her get the job at Intermezzo. And that’s when she encountered the growing culture of support, empowerment, and health that’s spreading through the city’s food industry.

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