It’s time for the trade to talk

Stephanie O’Neill led The Ben’s latest mental health roadshow

LEARNING to identify the signs and symptoms associated with poor mental health in employees and creating a more supportive work environment were the focus of The Ben’s latest mental health workshop.

The charity’s #NotAlone campaign roadshow made its second stop earlier this month at Metropolitan in Glasgow, where mental health nurse turned HR professional Stephanie O’Neill told operators and staff in attendance about the challenges facing the sector and the steps that can be taken to improve mental health amongst staff.

Citing a survey, O’Neill said that 59% of staff in the hospitality sector consider themselves to have a mental health issue, compared to just 15% of the general UK workforce.

She said that a myriad of factors were to blame, including long anti-social hours, a high pressure environment, difficult customers, and lack of proper mental health support.

Various signs, such as absence, a drop in performance or pace and physical changes in appearance are just some of the symptoms that operators should look out for in staff, according to O’Neill.

She said: “It’s time for a culture change. If we want to create a culture of openness, we need to look at it.

“Speak to staff, conduct surveys, ask for honest feedback – but you have to be prepared to accept the truth.

“There’s two questions to ask: what can I do? And how do you feel?”

Simple steps, such as introducing one-to-ones with staff, as well as putting up posters in staff rooms, can help create a more supportive work environment, said O’Neill.

The Ben’s #NotAlone mental health roadshow sessions, which is free to attend, will make various stops across the next couple of months.

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The Ben’s mental health roadshow’s next stops:

More dates are to follow and The Ben has also launched a free helpline – 0800 9154610.[/vc_cta]