A new partnership will see mental health in the hospitality industry receive some tender loving care, after it took a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Co-owner of Stillwater Restaurant Bianca Welsh is one face of a new initiative designed to help hospitality workers identify mental health warning signs, and raise awareness of sources of support.
"[When COVID-19 hit], it was obviously incredibly stressful and incredibly concerning [for hospitality workers]," she said.
"Obviously as time progressed and things prolonged, people's anxiety and mental ill health was impacted. Those who had existing it was exacerbated, and those without prior to COVID, started to rear its head in a way that they perhaps had never experienced before."
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Ms Welsh said during the pandemic she had staff questioning their futures, their incomes, their job safety, and who they could turn to for help.
However, she said one thing to note was even though staff were troubled and concerned during the pandemic, they were always supportive of the business and situation it was in, of which she was thankful.
Ms Welsh said as an industry even though they felt on track now, there was still a lot of work to be done in the mental health space due to the ongoing affects of the pandemic.
That is where a new partnership between the Tasmanian Hospitality Association and Lifeline Tasmania has come in.
The partnership offers a series of Lived Experience videos, featuring hospitality operators who have experienced mental health challenges.
The videos also include Lifeline experts who talk about how to find support when it is needed.
Ms Welsh said she chose to be a part of the project, and one of the campaign videos, because she did not want to lose workers from her workplace, or from the industry.
"In our restaurants, we have experienced a lot of our team experiencing poor mental health and wanting to be able to help [other team members] with what we are facing," she said.
"We want to be able to retain hospitality workers and we want to attract people to the industry."
Ms Welsh said she wanted to share her experience and educate other operators that they are not alone.
She will also be involved in a pilot mentoring program which will be rolled out later this month.
"The programs Lifeline is putting together are quite specific, and targeted to help each individual workplace with what they are facing," Ms Welsh said.
In July 202 the state government announced a $20 million COVID-19 Small Business Sustainability and Recovery Assistance Package, which included $1 million of mental health support.
The package assisted the partnership between THA and Lifeline.
Health and Small Business, Hospitality, and Events Minister Sarah Courtney said she congratulated THA and Lifeline on the formal partnership.
"One of the biggest challenges is knowing where to go for expert advice, and we know this is the best way to get meaningful support," she said.
For more information visit either the THA website or the Lifeline Tasmania website.
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