Mental health support for hospo

Mental health services for hospitality

Things have never been tougher in hospo and we want to acknowledge the deep stresses people are facing, especially those in Victoria. In today’s article we discuss mental health and share resources that may help.

This article discusses mental health, which may be triggering for some people. If you, or anyone you know needs support, there are people who can help. You can Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978 or Beyond Blue’s coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348.

Mental health challenges are nothing new for hospo

Fast paced. High stress. Isolation and burnout. The culture has always been tough in pubs, clubs and restaurants. Whether you’re front of house, in the back looking at the bottom line, or in a hot kitchen — you’re away from family, working long and unsociable hours and in a pressure cooker environment. So it wasn’t a surprise when R U OK released their 2018 survey of mental health in hospitality revealing that around 80% of hospitality workers admitted that mental health is a challenge faced by the majority within the industry.

Now with COVID-19 changing the landscape and making it even tougher for hospo, the pressure is really heating up and mental wellbeing is at an all-time low.

Funding for mental health

COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the hospo industry, nowhere is this more evident than in Victoria with the rollercoaster of shutdowns since the pandemic began.

The impact on people’s mental health has been devastating, with reports of a sharp increase in the number of Victorians presenting to hospital for self-harm in recent weeks. This has prompted the Victorian government to announce $60 million of mental health funding for people struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal government has also announced more funding for mental health support too, with a $14.6 million mental health package.

The Federal Government has also announced the relaxation of JobKeeper criteria, which is aimed at easing the burden on people. This means many more restaurants, pubs, clubs and cafes will be able to access the extended wage subsidy.

It’s time to let go of the suck it up culture

And start prioritising health and wellbeing and develop coping strategies that work for you.

Starting with self care. Being kind to yourself can go a long way to building your resilience and foster a sense of wellbeing.

There’s lots of resources out there if you need help to find out what self care looks like for you. Check out Beyond Blue, they have lots of great ideas that can help with your mental health — and they don’t have to cost a lot of money, in fact some of the best self care strategies are free:

  • Get enough sleep and look after your sleep hygiene
  • Spend time in nature, if you can
  • Move your body every day, even if it’s just a gentle walk outside
  • Get enough fruit and vegetables into your diet
  • Turn off your devices a few hours before bed
  • Consider a social media detox one day a week
  • Listen to music that makes you feel good
  • Call a friend or family member

What if self care isn’t enough?

Sometimes self care or the support of family and friends just isn’t enough. There are people who can help. When you need to talk, consider reaching out to:

  • Lifeline: A national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call them on 13 11 14 and they’re available 24 hours, 7 days. Or you can text them on 0477 13 11 14 within Australia, between 6pm-midnight, 7 days a week.
  • Beyond Blue: An independent non-profit organisation working to address issues associated with depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental disorders. You can call them on 1300 224 636. They also have dedicated Coronavirus help available 
  • MensLine Australia: Support for men at any time by calling 1300 789 978.

Hospo-related support

With the Accommodation and Food Service sector ranked 4th for prevalence of mental illness, there is industry specific support available too.

The White Jacket Effect offers courses to help tackle work culture and mental health in hospitality. They also run regular events and seminars so check out their calendar for what’s coming up.

Getting a mental health care plan

Another great option is to get a mental health care plan, which is a support plan for someone going through mental health issues. 

Make a telehealth appointment with your GP and if they agree that you need additional support, you and your doctor will make the plan together.

A mental health care plan might include:

  • A referral to an expert, like a psychologist
  • The types of mental health care that can support you
  • Other strategies to improve and maintain your mental health


My Local Foodie care deeply for the health and wellbeing of everyone in hospo, but we are by no means mental health specialists. The advice given in this article has been sourced from named credible mental health sources who offer support if you need it. 

If you, or anyone you know needs support, there are people who can help. You can Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978 or Beyond Blue’s coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348.