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Prairie Dog Brewing

Energize Don't Hide Calgary


Mental health is a very real and growing problem in North America, one need look no further than ou exploding opioid epidemic and homeless populations as evidence of this. Mental health has a stigma in our culture as a taboo subject, and acknowledging it by putting it front and center as the issue it is will be necessary before we can de-stigmatize and move forward – the CMHA are working hard to do that.

Prairie Dog Brewing believes that mental health should be acknowledged as a critical aspect of public health by both the Canadian and Alberta governments, and that public health treatment – both preventative and following trauma, should be covered by public health care.

We believe that the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) and its Calgary branch are doing incredible, necessary work in spite of our governments’ decades-long inaction about public health, and that the services and expertise the CMHA provide today are crucial in a functional society, but must be much more available (54% of Albertans with depression/mental health concerns did not receive the support they needed in the past 12 months because they couldn’t afford it). This is why Prairie Dog Brewing is engaging in the Energize Don’t Hide campaign to help fundraise for the CMHA so they can grow their reach and impact.

Hits Close To Home

All of our founders suffer from mental health concerns that challenge us on a daily basis, and even prior to the pandemic, the hospitality industry as a whole has been plagued by chronic mental health concerns (4 out of 5 hospitality workers experienced at least one instance of mental health illness within their career). A substantial portion of our workforce faces moderate to severe mental health challenges, often leading to drug and alcohol addiction and other self destructive behaviours that prevent employees from achieving a stable, healthy lifestyle or building a successful long term career. Only 17% of hospitality workers actually feel comfortable talking to their employer about mental health, and we see this history of trauma over and over again in our new hires and industry acquaintances. More than 54% of hospitality workers state that work/life balance (or lack thereof) is a main reason for ill mental health, so we put a lot of effort into fostering a supportive environment that allows and empowers our team members to achieve a greater work life balance, to grow in their abilities, achieve greater rates of pay, avoid the hostility and drama resulting from tipouts, and most of all have a truly safe and inclusive workplace.

Unfortunately, hospitality industry mental health concerns were made far worse by the pandemic, and even with our supportive approach to management, we cannot claim that our team was unharmed by being involved in our restaurant operations at this time. Across our industry, when staff did have to miss work, not only were they shorted crucial income, but they put their employers in an impossible position to find coverage with a reduced, razor thin team, which often led to strained relationships as teammates, managers and owners had to perform double- or often triple-duty and work overtime to compensate, all while answering to and enforcing public health policy with the already irritable customer base, who were themselves suffering from the pandemic in many ways (by the end of 2021, 1 in 4 Canadians -approximately 336,000 Calgarians suffer from symptoms of depression up from 1 in 5 in 2020). Ultimately, those of us who remain in this industry today are now experiencing a form of PTSD that we will take years to recover from, if not decades.

It is said that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%, so we are participating in Energize don’t Hide. Time to start moving, start talking and stop hiding!

What We Are Looking To Raise

Together with our team, Prairie Dog Brewing plans to fundraise more than $10,000 for mental health throughout May and June. Prairie Dog Brewing will MATCH all donations (up to $5000), including direct donations and any donations our team are able to raise individually!

If we are successful in raising the $10,000 ($5,000 raised plus $5,000 matched), we will host a patio party where our four operational founders will each get a PIE IN THE FACE administered by our top fundraising team members! The top fundraising team member gets to pie our President Gerad Coles in the face! If that isn’t a reason to donate, we don’t know what else is!

We’ll be hosting an Energize don’t Hide wrap up patio party in late June (official end of the campaign is June 30th), complete with pies in the owners’ faces, a specialty cask, drink specials, door prizes, lawn games, and of course, beer, bbq, and friends! Follow our social media @prairiedogbeer for all the details!



Team Members