Restaurants Forced To Accommodate Mentally Ill Diners

July 18, 2012 Alistair McHarg

If you’re anything like me, and I hope for your sake and the sake of your children that you are not, you’ve wrestled with your mental illness secure in the certainty that society cared about you only to the extent that it fervently wished you would excuse yourself from the room and be scarce in the way voles are scarce; that is to say, demonstrate your respect for “nice” people by remaining invisible to them.

Frankly, there is something soothing about looking at the ladder which leads up and up to society’s golden promises only to realize that the first few rungs of yours have been sawed in half and you won’t even have a chance to fall off, much less climb. Soothing because, in life, it is comforting to know where one stands, or, as is the case here, doesn’t stand. If you aren’t shocked and surprised by every disrespectful snub and injustice, you cannot be disappointed and consequently, will harbor no resentment. (To put it differently, it is the illusion of a just world that causes heartache, not the sting of an unjust one.)

Having said all this, I will admit to slight pangs of bitter jealousy as I watched the PC-Police catch up with one social inequity after another, leveling the scales by means of bare-knuckled intervention and, in some cases, even legislation. The foot in the door arrived when restaurants were divided into Smoking Sections and Non-Smoking Sections. Suddenly, non-smokers, who up to that point had languished in a social lagoon reserved for the insufferably sanctimonious and self-righteous, were accepted and treated, albeit begrudgingly, like regular members of society.

Curb cuts, aisles wide enough for Buicks, much less wheelchairs, and ATM keypads in Braille followed soon thereafter until it seemed like everyone, everyone, had been accommodated – everyone but us, that is.

That is why I am so happy to report that, starting in September of this year, all restaurants will be required by law to provide designated areas reserved exclusively for the mentally ill. There will be booster chairs for anyone suffering from low self-esteem and, instead of asking if a dish was satisfactory, wait-staff will always inquire, “How did that make you feel?” Other compensatory features will be discussed as details become available.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2012, July 18). Restaurants Forced To Accommodate Mentally Ill Diners, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

July, 8 2015 at 6:36 pm

Until now I have whole heartedly respected and appreciated the posts on this site. But this article, can I say How fucking ridiculous! What sanctimonious world do you live in, where you somehow think this is necessary. Seriously the entire race is plagued by health issues. Some people lose the genetic lottery on physical health, others on mental. It sucks! I'm very aware and supportive of measures within health, government funding and initiatives and workplace legislation and adjustments. But it is not the whole of society's responsibility to cater for your mental illness. Smokers should be outside. People with mental health issues should enjoy the reprieve of being able to enjoy the atmosphere and hospitality of a restaurant venue. Safe in the knowledge, they have managed to make it there and the catering will be done by someone else. Perhaps for a moment you could be less self absorbed and take on a little responsibility of your own to handle your mental health. Those with these issues do not come with a sign. Unlike those gravely ill with cancer or diabetes or other such ailments. Sincerely get over yourself!!!!

July, 8 2015 at 2:41 pm

While i think its a good idea..its pointing the finger more at people with mental health issues..oh look mummy that table is full of mentally ill people, where as before you could be anonymous i guess its of your choosing if you wish to sit their i wouldn't, having anxiety i like a quite corner, so for people with self harm will they issue blunt knifes, I think to help mentally ill people its nice to do it secretly, you dont want to make them worse. for instance garden always helps with the peaceful feel

July, 25 2012 at 6:08 am

Would 5 gerbils rolling around in gerbil balls and one cat be acceptable as union dues payments?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 25 2012 at 6:15 am

How did you know? Welcome aboard!

July, 24 2012 at 1:52 pm

Hmmm I have an eating disorder so will there be an area where they will place us that we can't see all calorie boards and menus that serve items that are low cal, no fat. Etc. Serene music playing to calm us down and understanding wait staff that will make adjustments to the food we are ordering. This is really funny to someone who has an eating disorder.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 24 2012 at 4:13 pm

Good point. The eating disorder angle seems particularly relevant. What could they do to be more sensitive?

July, 21 2012 at 5:01 am

Oh, I forgot,how does one go about subcontracting?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 24 2012 at 4:15 pm

The first step is to join The Funny In The Head Writer's Union - beware of the heavy dues!

July, 21 2012 at 5:00 am

Hi Alistair! What happens when all of our special tables are full? There could be a panic room where those with mental illness could vent their frustrations: crying areas for depressed and anxious patients, screaming areas for those who are manic, two areas for those with DID. I think I could go on and on, best I stop now!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 24 2012 at 4:14 pm

Once again - great input. I think they need a panic room for Chuck E. Cheese.

The Angela McClanahan
July, 20 2012 at 5:33 pm

So glad. We were getting tired of carry-out.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 21 2012 at 4:24 am

and carrying on...

July, 19 2012 at 9:24 am

Hadn't thought about subcontracting, might be a fun thing to do! I'd need topics thrown at me though.

July, 19 2012 at 9:12 am

I like the idea of not being allowed on the rockers. Perhaps they could be equipped with string so someone with OCD can move them over and over again. That will still fulfill the instructions to stay off of them.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 19 2012 at 9:16 am

Bravo! - It's rapidly becoming clear to me that this is a rich vein worthy of development. Would you consider sub-contracting? You clearly have a gift for this! ; - )

July, 19 2012 at 5:31 am

That was supposed to be a smile at the end of that sentence! :)Ah much better.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
July, 19 2012 at 5:59 am

This "rocker" idea interests me. I like where you're headed. How about if the specially outfitted areas were equipped with rockers but patrons were instructed to stay off them?

July, 19 2012 at 5:30 am

Great idea, now we have someplace to be and not remain anonymous. I wonder if they will set aside booths or tables;you don't want anyone feeling trapped and going off their rockers. Perhaps they'll have rockers, it would solve the whole thing (:

Holly Gray
July, 18 2012 at 11:23 pm

Well, it's about time!

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