Mental Health in Hospitality: Are managers turning a blind eye?
13th November 2019
Are you turning a blind eye to your employees’ mental health and wellbeing? Keep on reading to discover how you can become an effective and responsible manager for your staff.
Why is mental health important in Hospitality?
Mental health disorders, such as stress, anxiety and depression affect approximately 264 million globally and 1 million people in the UK.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, research has shown two thirds of us think workers are more likely to suffer from mental health issues now rather than five years ago. An industry with a combination of long working hours, poor work-life balance and the demands of working in a high-pressure environment is a recipe for stress.
Employees within the hospitality industry are facing significant pressures in the workplace impacting their mental health and wellbeing. In the UK:
A physical or mental impairment that has a substantial, long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out regular day-to-day tasks, is considered a disability under The Equality Act 2010. This can protect employees from discrimination if their mental health troubles coincide with the definition of ‘disability’, even if there is belief that the employee does not have a disability.
Your responsibility as a manager
Employees’ mental health seem to be a “hidden issue” in the workplace. Employees are sometimes worried about talking about their mental health from fear of being treated differently.
Although it is the duty of an employee to ensure that their employers are aware of the mental illnesses that may be present, according to the Equality Act 2010, employers have a legal duty of care to consider adjustments that are reasonable to the particular employee. Employees are allowed to refuse work that they feel is unsafe without the fear of disciplinary actions. Workplace mental health programs have become more common and are now expected to be provided for your staff.
Hospitality industry managers need to promote mental health and stress management in their workplaces to support their employees. Understanding mental health illnesses is essential before committing to providing strategies to reduce and aid the employee concerns.
Managers need to take steps to improve the workplace, which may include changing working patterns and/or routines. By providing relevant training and support, employees may find it easier to open up, reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.
Solutions for managers
The Bristol Hotel is an example of a hotel that is leading the way on supporting mental health issues with employees, as mentioned by The Caterer. Doyles Collection, Bristol Hotel is the first hotel in the South West to pledge to support the mental health initiative. They demonstrated their commitment to this by appointing six Wellbeing Champions, whom completed a two-day Mental Health First Aid course along with other team members. The manager of the hotel, Payne, explained that although working in this industry is great fun and rewarding, it can be tough due to the commitment to work in relation to working long hours, including evenings and weekends. This has encouraged Payne to sign the Time to Change pledge to help overcome the stigma attached to mental health illnesses and to support the staff in this industry.
Managers of hotels could also consider using IOSH, a chartered body and membership organisation that offers training courses to managers; to help them gain knowledge and skills that they will need to oversee the health and safety of their employees. One course that they offer is the Managing Occupational Health and Wellbeing. This course includes multiple interactive discussions, practical exercises and more. Completion of the course may lead to the following benefits:
- Fewer hours lost due to sickness resulting in greater productivity
- Increase in employee motivation
- Increased mental health awareness throughout the entire organisation
Further mental health support
There are many hospitality related mental health support channels for the workplace:
- NHS – Mental health support services are free on the NHS and offers a list of helplines, local support and information services near you.
- Mind – offer free national advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem with events and workshops that employees can attend to increase awareness.
- Health Assured – an online employee assistance programme which offers to help employees deal with personal problems that might adversely impact their work performance, health and well-being.
- ACAS – provides advice and guidance for managers and businesses to enable them to support employees mental health.
Are you turning a blind eye?
We want to know what managers in the hospitality industry think about this.
- Let us know if you think mental health issues and the conversations around these are given enough public spotlight?
- What do you think the future holds for mental health awareness and support in the hospitality industry? Positive or bleak?
- How are mental health programs being implemented in your organisation?
Please leave your thoughts and comments in the section below.