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Compass partners with HA for workplace mental wellness programme

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

Blue Monday, which falls on 20 January, is widely recognised as the saddest day of the year, when post-festive season finances are at their worst and many new year’s resolutions have fallen by the wayside.

Hospitality Action and Compass are working together to make sure that from today onwards the rest of 2020 looks brighter by calling upon the whole industry to have a year-long focus on protecting the mental health of its workers.

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

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. HA research in 2018 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%) 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.

Robin Mills, Managing Director, Compass Group UK & Ireland, said, “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 today 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.”

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.”

On 21 January, the first steering group meeting takes place when senior figures from across the industry and experts from Hospitality Action will meet to discuss the issues and develop tools that will help the industry tackle the issues causing workers’ mental health to suffer.

Thanks to the generous support of Compass, Pladis parent company of McVitie’s and Jacob’s and existing partner, The Savoy Educational Trust, HA plans to provide more resources to operators and to widen the reach of the campaign via advertising & campaigning. Compass will also be able to provide insight and experience into the ongoing development of the campaign.