Whilst it may feel like this topic is getting more commonly spoken about, the stigma attached to suicide and mental health is, unfortunately, still huge. If someone has a problem with their leg, chances are they are going to complain about it all day, so why is it that so many people are still suffering in silence when it comes to mental health?
Working in hospitality often leads to long, stressful hours. In recent years, we seem to have lost the ability to say no – always agreeing to that extra shift, those extra hours or that impossible upsell and additional responsibilities. The need to be seen by management and peers as being the hardest working team member has over taken the need to look after our physical and mental health.
Last Year, Hospitality Titan Co-founder Liam Norval interviewed the Director of The Burnt Chef Project, Kris Hall. The Burnt Chef Project started in May 2019 and quickly gained momentum; they have a growing social media following and have recently had some great mainstream press features. However, with 3.2 million people working in the Hospitality Industry, they are still only just scratching the surface. The project aims to eliminate the stigma attached to mental health, as well as educating both employers and employees on how to help anyone suffering in their work place. They want to provide people with a voice, and the confidence to speak up and stop suffering in silence.
In a survey that they conducted in May 2020, they found that 4 out of 5 of the 1273 respondents had experienced one or more periods of ill mental health as a result of their role in hospitality. 64% of those people said that part of the reason for that ill health was because they had no time for a healthy work, life balance. Is it time we started to learn to say no to that extra shift?
The most worrying part of the study showed that 46% of respondents said they did not feel comfortable discussing their mental health with a manager or their colleagues. This absolutely must change. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses are widely available (often online) all across the country. They are aimed at businesses and organisations, helping them to put systems in place to prevent, spot and help anyone within the organisation suffering from poor mental health. Sometimes all it takes is for one person to step up and ask if you’re feeling okay.
Tragically, ill mental health can be fatal. In 2018, 6,507 people died in the UK as a result of suicide. How many of those could have been stopped if they felt they were able to ask for help?
We can all do our bit to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. Normalise talking about your mental health in the way you would your physical problems. “I’m feeling anxious today” is something so so many of us say to ourselves; let’s start saying it out loud. If someone you know doesn’t seem quite themselves – talk to them, start that conversation and make sure they know you are there if they need you.
If you or someone around you is in a moment of crisis, there are many organisations that are on hand to help you.
Samaritans have a crisis line, someone is always available to talk – 116 123 or you can email them: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shout is a texting service, available 24 hours a day – 85258.
The Burnt Chef Project also offer lots of advice and support on their website: https://www.theburntchefproject.com/helpandsupport