AHA makes mental health a top priority

12 October, 2020 by Vanessa Cavasinni

In the last week, two AHA branches have announced new measures to ensure that members and their staff have access to mental health resources.

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association has launched a comprehensive online mental health resource through its website to assist hospitality venue owners, operators and their staff address and manage mental health and wellbeing in their workplaces.

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THA CEO Steve Old said the resource was developed in response to the stress and anxiety the pandemic had induced for many people within hospitality.

“Mental health is so prevalent across society and the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated those issues by presenting extra challenges and stresses. We’re getting feedback from industry that operators, staff and their friends are experiencing tough times and we want them know there is help out there.

“We’re not trying to say we are the experts in this field, but there are plenty of experts who can help. We’ve developed a resource for operators and their staff to access those experts and make sure they can find the assistance they need, when they need it,” stated Old.

“There’s so much information out there and it can be overwhelming for someone looking for assistance. This resource has been developed, in consultation with leading mental health experts and Government representatives, to be an easy-to-use platform with the most helpful information in one spot. If we can help one person access the help they need, then the extensive work that’s gone into this resource is absolutely worth it.”

The website includes tools to create a mentally healthy venue, including tips and information for venue operators. There are also resources for mental health at an individual level – both for yourself, and helping others that you might be worried about. The website also includes links to services such as Lifeline and State Government mental health services.

“Unless we get some of the restrictions eased I think mental health and a raft of other issues are going to become more prevalent, so our role at the THA is to provide whatever assistance we can,” stated Old.

“I encourage everyone in our industry to take some time out to look at these resources and learn more about the important role they can play in supporting their colleagues.”

The mental health resources website can be accessed here.

WA venues unite behind Healthy Mind Menu Inc

Saturday 10 October kicked off Western Australia’s Mental Health Week, and the state’s hospitality venues have collaborated to drive donations towards Healthy Mind Menu Inc., a charity started by AHA WA and leading industry figures to support the WA’s hospitality workforce in terms of mental health issues.

Healthy Mind Menu Inc. was started in 2018, but AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods says the organisation’s mission is more important than ever.

“When we started Healthy Mind Menu Inc. we were aware that hospitality workers were already predisposed to facing higher rates of mental health issues, however COVID-19 has clearly exacerbated stress and anxiety throughout the workforce.

“WA has done extraordinarily well in dealing with this crisis but we know that there is still a high degree of uncertainty in the industry, plus the struggles of this year have been significant for many.

“Eighty per cent of hospitality workers have admitted that mental health is a challenge faced by the majority within the industry and so we know we need to do more to ensure workers have access to appropriate resources and practical assistance.”

Western Australian venues are being encouraged to donate to Healthy Mind Menu Inc. this week, to support the mental health of WA’s hospitality workforce.