Mental Health - Hospitality

Supporting an employee suffering with a mental health condition – Hospitality 2018

Since figures have shown that 1 in 4 people suffer every year in the UK, we’ve decided to take a look at the importance of well-being at work and the steps you should take if you are managing someone with a mental health condition.

In the hospitality industry there are jobs that are very intense that involve working unsociable hours which can be a drivers for depression etc. Below we have put together some useful information that could the way in which you approach this kind of situation.

How to address mental health in the workplace

If you are approached by an employee who is suffering with a mental health problem, it is pretty important that you have the correct knowledge and skills to be able to address this professionally, and if you are suffering, the support you receive from your employer is a massive factor in how you recover from it.

Your business and values can say a lot about you. Therefore standing by your staff during troubled times will show you value that member of staff but also that you are practising values in to practice.

Encourage a culture that is open about mental health

For many sufferers, speaking out about a mental health condition can be a difficult task. Companies need to make it known to their employees that being open about mental health will lead to support, not discrimination. This, in turn, will give staff the confidence to speak openly about their issues in a positive and supportive environment.

Be approachable and confident

Managers need to be confident about mental health problems so they can communicate with their staff in an professional manner. Regular one-2-one meetings are great for keeping on top of how employees are feeling as it helps you to build trustworthy relationships between your colleagues. These meetings are a time when you are giving employees the chance to raise any issues they may be having at an early stage in a way that is safe and secure.

Never dismiss your employee

As we know a kitchen can be an intense place to work. As a manager it’s your job to show common sense, empathy, compassion and the ability to listen as a way to support your staff in any situation. If a member of staff approaches you about a mental health problem and you do nothing, the problem could spiral leaving a lasting negative impact on the individual and company.

However, if you know your staff well and you suspect someone is suffering, some key inducators might include:

  • Changes in behaviour such as mood swings/how they interact with other colleagues
  • Changes in motivation and focus levels
  • Having trouble making decisions and being organised
  • Appearing tired or withdrawn and losing interest in activities they previously enjoyed
  • Changes in eating habits and increased drinking and smoking

How to talk with someone about their mental health

  • Choose a quiet and private place that feels comfortable. This can be outside of the working environment as this might reduce the pressure.
  • Encourage your employee to talk openly about how they are feeling. It can tough admitting their struggles so it is vitally important you make them aware that they have nothing to be afraid of.
  • Be honest with your employee and address any concerns you may have at an early stage such as high levels of absence or impaired performance.
  • Encourage your employee to seek advice. This could be through their GP, counselling or Occupational Health if your company offers this service.
  • Discuss with your employee who this will be shared with. This information is sensitive and should be shared with as few people as possible but it’s important that the individual is aware of your policies and can trust you as an employer.
  • Take action and create a plan to help your employee with their development. It’s important that you, as the employer, can identify signs of their mental health problem and how it can impact their stress levels and workload. The plan should also include regular reviews to check on the progress on the individual.
  • Reassure the individual – even if they’re not ready to talk about it – so they know that the door is always open for them and that you can help them get the support they need.

Ways to support an employee with a mental health problem

Now that you have had the conversation with your employee about their mental health problem, the next stage is to develop some positive next steps. Having clear policies on workplace adjustments could really aid an individual’s development and it shows you are being proactive in your approach as a manager.

There isn’t a set list but below are a few options that might help:

  • Staggered lunch breaks to give the individual a chance to take time out when they need it. This may or may not be possible with different roles
  • Flexible working hours in case the individual is having a bad morning or would benefit from leaving early.
  • An agreement to give the individual leave at short notice and time off for appointments related to their health such as therapy and doctor’s appointments. Communication is key to make this possible
  • Increased the amount of supervision, mentoring and training.
  • Identifying a safe work-space for the individual so they can have time out and relax. (Again this depends on the role)
  • Regular meetings where you discuss the individual’s achievements and progress to encourage positive self-esteem.

If you are managing someone in the workplace who is suffering with a mental health problem, but you’re not entirely sure how to go about it, these useful contacts will be a big help.

Remember that starting a conversation is the first step to show effective support and highlighting it will increase employee engagement, motivation and productivity. There is always a solution and as a manager, it’s your job to provide that solution in a way that suits the individual’s needs.

For further information on how you can support an employee who is suffering with a mental health condition, visit


For further workplace help and advice follow this link: Hospitality Employment

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