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Compass champions workplace mental wellness programme

Compass Group UK & Ireland has joined forces with Hospitality Action (HA) to support the industry charity’s major new mental health awareness programme.

Launched yesterday (20 January – Blue Monday), the programme aims to dispel the stigma attached to mental health problems around the hospitality industry and to provide support to those who need it by equipping operators with the knowledge, resources and tools they need to safeguard against situations that could result in a mental health crisis.

Hospitality can be a challenging industry in which to work, with many factors such as long hours and the adrenaline of service contributing to increased stress levels. In 2018 HA research found that:

  • Four out of five hospitality workers find their job stressful some or most of time.
  • Half describe their job as stressful most or all of time.
  • Four out of five believe stress levels have increased in the past three years.
  • Over half (56 per cent) do not make employers aware of mental health problems.
  • Meanwhile, suicide – already the single biggest killer of men under 45 in UK – has a disproportionate prevalence in the hospitality sector.

Hospitality Action’s CEO Mark Lewis said: “In the last two years, HA has seen a marked increase in cases involving a mental health problem, and sadly we have seen the aftermath of far too many suicides – particularly those of young men. Mental health problems and self-harm are currently a major problem in businesses across the UK. We want to act quickly to provide practical, simple information and tools that are easy to implement and can help break the taboos that surround talking about our mental health. By having Compass, Pladis & The Savoy Educational Trust onboard, we are able to raise the bar further and we hope to reach many more people with our message.”

HA’s mental health programme will offer practical solutions in print, online and in person to help employees, colleagues and managers to identify and respond to mental health issues, including:

  • Industry awareness campaign to normalise conversations mental health.
  • Helpsheets and courses to equip managers with the skills to engage in conversations about mental health problems and suicidal thoughts.
  • Instructional videos.
  • Educational posters.
  • Best practice exemplars and case studies.
  • On-site mental health and suicide-risk awareness training.
  • On-site ‘Mental Health Champion’ training.
  • Specific awareness programme aimed at reducing male suicides.

Compass will be championing the campaign amongst its own workforce. The business will create a network of Mental Health Ambassadors to ensure it’s embedded at every level of the organisation. Compass will also be raising awareness for its employees and line managers about how HA can support them. Line managers will be encouraged to include mental health into regular team talks, undertake training sessions and understand how to signpost the support too.

Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland commented: “We work in a brilliant industry which provides fantastic opportunities, but we mustn’t shy away from the fact that it can also be challenging. That’s why programmes like the one HA are launching are so vitally important and I’m thrilled that Compass is joining forces with Hospitality Action to help drive it forward.

“As a large employer I believe we can make a positive difference in helping our people as well as our colleagues across the industry in managing their mental health. By raising awareness of this issue and providing access to information, I hope it will encourage people to seek help when they need it – the more that can be done to enable people to speak up and get support, the better.”

The campaign page can be found here.

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