Mental health and the restaurant industry: why it matters now more than ever
This is an excerpt from an article originally published by Katy Rose of Eat Out South Africa and is being shared with kind permission from the author. The full article can be read here.
What is mental health?
Mental health is the wellness (or illness) of your mind and emotional well-being. According to the Western Cape Department of Health, mental health “is not merely about the absence of mental illness, but rather the presence of mental health and wellbeing. Mental health is about how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you deal with the opportunities, difficulties and challenges of everyday life.”
Just as we all have physical health and wellbeing, we all have mental health. 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 and low mood.
What does mental health look like in the restaurant industry?
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. Not getting enough sleep is a major mental health issue that can lead to poor performance, low mood and even dangerous mistakes. Enduring verbal or physical abuse in the workplace, not spending time with your children and loved ones, as well as trauma or loss in your personal life can all impact your mental health.
Mental health helpline for industry workers
Run in partnership with The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), the 24-hour toll-free Fair Kitchens helpline is there any time you need to talk. All calls are confidential and you can remain completely anonymous.
Call 0800 006 333 at any time
As well as free telephone counselling, callers can also access further services through the helpline such as nearby support groups, crisis interventions and face-to-face counselling. You don’t have to negotiate this trying time alone.