Research has shown foodservice workers to be at greater risk than most for depression, substance abuse and anxiety. While unusual hours, a fast-paced environment and dealing with tricky customers are part of the job, unacceptable behaviour inside kitchens such as bullying, intimidation and less than perfect working conditions are not.
What is mental health?
Mental health is the wellness of your mind and emotional well-being. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health
"... is a state of well being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community."
Perhaps you have an aching back, occasional headaches or suffer from seasonal allergies? Similarly, you could have mental health issues that can affect your mood and how you react to situations in your daily life. Some may be milder, like anxiety at work when there’s a lot of pressure, while others can affect you more severely, like depression.
What does mental health look like in the restaurant industry?
WHO associates poor mental health to " rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, physical ill-health and human rights violations."
Anyone who has worked in a restaurant or hotel will tell you about the physical health problems that can come from working long shifts. Standing for hours, lifting heavy items, straining your body and working with sharp equipment can all lead to accidents or injuries. Similarly, other workplace dangers could be affecting your mental health and you may not even be aware of them.
According to global research conducted by FairKitchens in 2019:
More than just the "blues"
Life is full of emotional ups and downs and everyone experiences the "blues" from time to time. But when the "down" times are long lasting or interfere with an individual’s ability to function at home or at work, that person may be suffering from a common, serious illness – depression, anxiety or both.
With #FairKitchens we aim to help open the conversation about mental wellbeing for you and your team. Head over to our website for more resources on mental health.