In 2017 the NHS reported that 1 in 4 people in the UK are likely to suffer ill mental health in their lifetime however, a study of almost 1300 hospitality professionals carried out by The Burnt Chef Project, has found this is nearer to 4 in 5 people.

The Burnt Chef Project, a not-for-profit organisation, has been working consistently since May 2019 with the view to raise awareness to the high levels of mental ill health within the hospitality trade. Their mission is simple; to stamp out mental health stigma once and for all and to make the industry a safer place. The Burnt Chef Project has carried out two significant studies into the mental health and wellbeing of hospitality professionals within the industry in 2020. The most recent study found that 46% of hospitality workers do not feel comfortable talking about their mental health with a friend or colleague which is a huge proportion of the 3.2 million people that work within hospitality currently.

It is incredibly important that the foodservice industry is sustainable in terms of protecting its current staff and attracting new talent. The Burnt Chef Project has found that only 35% of their survey respondents would recommend working in hospitality. It is no secret there is an increase in staff shortages as workers look to balance their work/life commitments equally and adopt freelance working or leave the industry as a way of achieving this.

This has resulted in an increased demand on remaining staff as business owners look to save further costs including rapid internal promotions leaving gaps in management skillsets which further adds to the fragility of
mental health within the trade.

“There is a strong stigma within the hospitality trade. The term “Badge of Honour” is often used and refers to an individual who will suffer in silence at personal cost over letting the team down or to save being singled out. We want to change that on its head and redefine the term. Every person within hospitality should be able to discuss the state of their mental health and gain support from their peers and employers. It is important that although mental health can’t be seen it is regularly discussed and policies reviewed. Those that speak out against the stigma and should be the industries new definition of Badge of Honour.”

The Burnt Chef Project is a not-for-profit which means that the money raised through sales of branded merchandise, day-to-day hospitality essentials, donations and fundraisers is then used to continue the ongoing work of opening conversations as well as education through seminars, mental health training and handy online management courses. With over 100 people trained so far in mental health awareness and mental health
first aid they feel they have barely scratched the surface of beginning to change the industry but they work to ensure their messages continue to
meet tens of thousands through social media, collaborations with leading brands and ongoing marketing campaigns.

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