ScotHot study shines spotlight on mental health in hospitality sector

Nearly 60% of people working in Scotland’s hospitality industry have experienced mental health problems at work, a new national survey has revealed. 

The study, commissioned by trade event ScotHot found that 57% of respondents had experienced mental health issues in the workplace including stress, depression and anxiety. 

More than 500 people currently employed in the hospitality sector responded to the survey, with 41% reporting that working in the industry had negatively affected their mental health. 

Long hours, a lack of work-life balance and the demands of working in a high-pressure environment were cited as the top three causes of work-related stress in Scotland’s hotels, bars and restaurants.  

Full details of the study and its findings will be announced at ScotHot on Thursday (14 March) as part of a live panel debate on the Scottish Tourism Alliance Spotlight Stage. Staff from across Scotland’s hospitality sector are invited to join in the discussion in person, or on social media using the hashtag #ScotHot19. 

Chaired by broadcaster and journalist Stephen Jardine, ‘Talking About It: Mental Health in Hospitality’ will bring together a panel of leading industry figures to discuss the study, and examine what can be done to improve and promote positive mental health throughout Scotland’s hospitality sector. 

Stephen will be joined for Thursday’s panel discussion by Gary Macdonald, Mental Health Community Partner at the Department for Work and Pensions; Gordon McIntyre, Associate Dean for Hospitality and Tourism at City of Glasgow College; Giovanna Eusebi, Owner of Eusebi Deli in Glasgow, and Stuart Ralston, Chef Patron of Aizle Restaurant in Edinburgh. 

The results of ScotHot’s survey follows the launch of Hospitality Health, a new Scottish charity set up to support the wellbeing of staff and students across the industry. Hospitality Health was founded by Gordon McIntyre, who praised ScotHot’s focus on mental health ahead of his participation in Thursday’s panel discussion. 

Gordon McIntyre, Chairman at Hospitality Health, said, “The health and wellbeing of people working in the hospitality industry must be a priority for employers. We need to put mental health at the top of our agenda, and let staff see that this is something we take seriously.

“By launching Hospitality Health, our aim is to encourage more staff to eat well, take regular exercise and drink responsibly. If we can help each and every person working in the industry to become physically and mentally healthier, whilst maintaining our love and passion for hospitality, our sector will not only be a more positive place for everyone, but also more sustainable.

“It’s so encouraging to see ScotHot focusing on such an important topic at this year’s event, and I hope the study findings will encourage even more employers to make the small differences which can deliver big changes for their staff.” 

Ross Carter, Event Director for ScotHot, said, “This study was commissioned to provide some up-to-date statistics on mental health in Scotland’s hospitality industry, to highlight the pressures faced across the sector and to identify what we can do to help. Our survey found that 75% of respondents have worked in the industry for more than 10 years – with this in mind, we need to focus not only on making jobs in hospitality more appealing and less stressful for young people, but also on ensuring that professionals who have dedicated their careers to working with food and drink have access to appropriate levels of support.

“We feel it’s time for a wider, industry-specific discussion, and that’s where ScotHot 2019 comes in. While these statistics make for serious reading, it’s important to recognise the positive work which is already being carried out to make mental health a priority across Scotland’s hospitality industry, and focus our discussions on what else can be done to make the sector a healthier, happier place for everyone. By putting mental health centre of the Scottish Tourism Alliance Spotlight Stage, we’re aiming to encourage more employers and employees to make their health a priority as part of ScotHot 2019.”

ScotHot takes place this week, the 13thand 14th of March, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow.

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