We recently observed World Mental Health Day; a day to take stock of how we’re doing and how we’re feeling, beyond the outward image we portray to the world, and it’s a day that seems particularly relevant in hospitality. There was for a long time a too little discussed link between hospitality and mental health issues, but it does seem to have come to the fore in recent years, which is more than welcomed.
We all know that mental health doesn’t discriminate, and can affect people of all ages, from all walks of life, but one thing that the hospitality industry highlights, is just how prevalent it can be to people who work in catering, restaurants and hotels.
The figures on the face of it are scary; one in four people will suffer with mental health issues. As Kris Hall – of Burnt Chef Project has pointed out – in hospitality it’s more in line with four in five.
Thankfully, there are now frank and open discussions about mental health in the industry. In the last three years, however, the exacerbations of Covid-19 and now the cost of living crisis, have added new dimensions to these discussions and resulted in more widespread issues beyond just physical and mental burnout. Thriving businesses are now struggling to pay energy bills, struggling to pay rent, struggling to keep staff in a vicious downward cycle culminating in business closures which are always sad to see from the outside; so it can only be imagined how it must feel to be on the inside; and people inevitably blame themselves, feel they’ve let people down, when the majority of the symptoms that lead to these devastating outcomes are out of their control.
We wanted to highlight just a couple of resources that can help. The first step is always to talk to someone. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, if you’re struggling to keep your chin up, if you’re putting on a brave face but wrestling internally with deep and complex worries, there are people who are here to listen.
Hospitality Action is a fantastic charity that provides support to people across the industry. One of the main concerns is of course mental health, and the recent Walk for Wellbeing celebrates the industry’s commitment to the mental health conversation and raises awareness of these issues that are so prominent in hospitality. You can find out more information about Walk for Wellbeing, and sign up for next year’s here:
To find out more about Hospitality Action in general, or to speak to someone confidentially, please visit:
Burnt Chef Project
Another fantastic group to bear in mind is Burnt Chef Project, mentioned above, a group dedicated to providing free mental health support to the hospitality industry. You can visit the website below to learn more about them and their work. They have collaborated with employers and companies up and down the UK and internationally, and have a podcast dedicated to these issues.
Nobody should feel like they have to wrestle with these things alone. Even if you feel like you must put on a brave face; for your family, for your friends, for your staff or colleagues, if you’re struggling, reach out.