“Attending a recent industry event, I introduced myself as the manager of HA’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to the gentleman sitting next to me. It turned out that he was a Head Chef from one of our subscribing companies and was full of praise for the way that the EAP had helped members of his kitchen brigade dealing with mental health and addiction issues. Ultimately ensuring these valued members of his team remained in employment.”
Camilla Woods, Hospitality Action

A couple of days later a potential client called me, asking him how he’d heard about the EAP he explained that a new team member had been supported by the EAP at his previous establishment receiving counselling and a grant and had therefore recommended that his new employer should sign up to the programme asap!

Both of these conversations really brought home to me the true value of the support and advice provided by the programme to individual employees who may be struggling with a wide variety of pressures at home or work. Pressures that do impact mental health and in turn, the way people do their jobs resulting in reduced performance, lack of focus and absence. These, in turn, can lead to lost productivity and significant cost to employers.

There is a clear trend in our industry towards being more open about mental health issues, but there’s still a fear amongst employers of how to best respond to these questions, and there’s still a long way to go. When you consider this alongside the current recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality industry, it seems to me that supporting employee’s mental health and wellbeing should be a top priority for every employer.

Since launching the EAP just over five years ago, HA has built up a wealth of knowledge about the challenges facing those who work in our industry and whether it’s an issue with drugs, alcohol, gambling, depression, anxiety, stress, illness, lack of work/life balance or financial pressure, we can help.

We already offer a raft of services including a 24/7 helpline, access to personal counselling, legal guidance, addiction support, debt advice, parenting helpline, and whistleblowing – all for an annual cost of just £5 + vat per employee. This autumn we’ll be launching a new programme of mental health support materials designed to help employers and their staff have conversations about wellbeing, to give employers the tools to support their staff and continue to challenge the stigmas some still feel about talking to their boss when they’re experiencing a mental health problem.

In the meantime why not find out more about how your team can benefit from the support the EAP already offers to almost 250 companies and over 130,000 hospitality people?