Coming soon from Hospitality Action: a mental health awareness toolkit

I couldn’t let the start of another Mental Health Awareness Week go by without blogging.

This time last year, Hospitality Action marked the week with a breakfast event, at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, at which we launched the results of a survey we’d conducted into the prevalence of mental health issues in the hospitality workplace.

The results were as alarming as you’d expect.

Only 5% of respondents reported that their job is rarely stressful. A worrying 80% told us that their job is stressful sometimes or most of the time. And 51% – over half! – described their job as being stressful most or all of the time.

Later last year, we partnered with The Caterer on a special edition of the magazine, focussing on mental health in hospitality. This special report provided bagfuls of research, case studies and advice. What it didn’t do, one or two hospitality leaders pointed out, was address the issue of mental wellness at manager level. It falls to managers to support the mental wellbeing of their teams; but who can they turn to when they experience challenges of their own?

This week, The Caterer’s Kat Price has published Lonely at the Top, an excellent, insightful article that presents three case studies of managers who’ve faced their own mental challenges: Philip Newman-Hall, Giovanna Grossi and Peter Avis.

Hats off to Kat and The Caterer for this important coverage. And huge respect to Giovanna, Philip and Peter for their bravery and their frankness. an excellent read, one that’s sure to give many hospitality managers the courage to reach out for help.

We aren’t marking Mental Health Awareness Week with research or an event, this year. We will of course be playing an active part in the week through social media channels.

Later this year, though, you can expect to see a major new campaign from us, offering a toolkit of print, digital and rich media assets enabling managers to start conversations with their teams, and reassure them that, as Peter Avis said to Kat, it’s okay not to be okay.

We’re your industry charity, and we’re here to help you. It’s what we do.

A postscript: as a result of our work around last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I connected with and then met Norfolk chef Charlie Hodson, a force of nature and a force for good. we’re now good friends, and Charlie is one of HA’s most vocal advocates and strongest supporters. Our relationship is proof-positive that it’s #timetotalk.