R U OK has teamed up with hospitality training provider Allara Learning to develop an online short course to tackle mental health in the workplace. Funded by Comcater and mental health fundraising initiative Food for Thought, the interactive course is designed to help workers notice the signs someone may be struggling, how to find the right space and time to ask if a colleague is OK, and how to support someone who says no.
The course is a response to results from a recent survey of hospitality workers, which was commissioned by non-for-profit organisation R U OK? Results found 80 per cent of hospitality workers found that mental health issues, such as feeling depressed, anxious or manic, are a challenge currently facing those in the industry.
Fatigue was the number one challenge faced by those in the industry, more so in the 45 to 64 years age group. Within the older demographic, high employee turnover and frequent staff changes were noted as challenges.
Those in the younger age bracket were more likely to reference unsociable work hours, dealing with difficult customers, and pay challenges as job stressors.
On a positive note, the majority of those surveyed said they do feel that they can access support from colleagues, not just family and friends, should they need it. While 50 per cent of respondents said someone at work had asked them in the past 12 months if they were OK, around 50 per cent of hospitality workers in the last year said they had wanted someone at work to ask them if they were OK.
Around 40 per cent had thought about asking someone if they were OK, but didn’t. When asked why, a third indicated that they didn’t feel it was their place to ask the question.
R U OK? Campaign Director Katherine Newton says the survey results indicate more work needs to be done to help hospitality workers feel comfortable checking in with each other, but that it is encouraging to see at least half of those surveyed said they had been asked the question when they needed to talk.
The course is free of charge and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. It’s complemented by other free resources featuring the tagline “Chances are one of your work family needs to talk”. Resources include posters, stickers for roster boards, and a conversation guide.