Mental Health in Hospitality

Hospitality as an industry often mops up the misfits, wether for a career for those that don’t or can’t function on the 9-5 schedule that modern society seems to dictate as a requirement, or as a few quid in their pockets while at university. One thing it does particularly well is cater to those who suffer with poor or inconsistent mental health.

Even as I lie awake, on a Friday night where I would normally be working, brain too busy to switch off yet forced to because yet again the government has shut the pubs, I realise that slinging drinks behind the bar gives me the space and distraction to stop my mind over thinking and creating problems where there are none. It really is a job where everything gets left at the door and the second you start your shift something else takes over, the customer service persona, and from there, more often than not, I can work out the little kinks, mis thoughts and anthing else that is bothering me from the fast paced, ever changing, constantly social environment. It’s no wonder drug and there are days where I am just not feeling it, and on those days due to the diversity of the job I can put my hands up say I can’t face customers today and work my shift on dispense, or as a bar back, sometimes even in the kitchen as a pot wash.

While it is still a buisness that must run and certain tasks must be completed there is so much flexibility that there are very few hard and fats rules of what must be completed and when, limited mostly to things that must be done for safety and security. In my experience flexibility is key to living with inconsistent mental health. I need to be able to say today I can’t do this but I can do that. This rings true for many of my colleagues.
At the begining I said it mops up the misfits, I’m not sure this is quite true more that they find a home and comfort in a bunch of people who work and play hard and love even harder. When you have mental health issues, it becomes very easy to spot others who are suffering and lend an empathetic ear, especially when you’re all in the weeds at the weekends together. It becomes a support system, people you know you can turn to to hear you out, because chances are they’re experiencing or have experienced something similar.

I have a lot of love for all my colleagues in hospitality, for the support they have offered me over the years and the friends I have made. I have many colleagues past and present who I can enter the shift at the absolute pit of doom and gloom and if I can ask to work a section beside them I leave happier than I could have imagined when I arrived, laughing at some staff fail or stupid in joke. For me I don’t see many other industries I could realistically see myself working in. Hospitality has my heart and soul. 


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