Online course encourages hospitality industry to ask R U OK?

Suicide prevention charity R U OK? is working with the hospitality sector to find better ways to ensure the industry is equipped to handle the of an exciting, yet demanding, workplace.

R U OK?, funded with the help of Comcater and Food for Thought, has teamed up with hospitality training provider Allara Learning to develop a new online short course to educate hospitality workers.

The interactive course is designed to help staff members notice the signs someone may be struggling, how to find the right space and time to ask the question, and how to navigate a conversation if someone says, “no, I’m not OK.”

“We know Employee Assistance Programs and specific support services are in the industry, however they’re not always known about or utilised, which is why it’s even more important to learn skills to support those working alongside you,” says Rachel Clements, Psychologist at the Centre for Corporate Health.

A recent survey of hospitality workers commissioned by R U OK? revealed 80 per cent of hospitality workers agreed that mental health issues, such as feeling depressed, anxious or manic, are a challenge currently facing those in the industry.

Fatigue was the number one challenge faced by those in the industry, more so in older demographics. Those in a younger age bracket were more likely to reference unsociable work hours, dealing with difficult customers, and pay challenges as job stressors.

On a positive note, 50 per cent of respondents said they had been asked by someone at work in the past 12 months if they were OK when they really needed it.

However, another 50 per cent said they had wanted someone at work to ask them if they were OK.

Around 40 per cent had thought about asking someone if they were OK, but didn’t. When asked why, a third indicated that they didn’t feel it was their place to ask the question.

“These results show us that a lot of people are asking the question but we need to step up our game and do it comfortably and more regularly,” says Mal Meiers, Ambassador for R U OK? and Founder of Food for Thought.

“Our industry is dynamic and exciting but there can be pressures that come with long hours, a fast pace and high expectations. The new R U OK? campaign will help both front-of-house and back-of-house staff look out for each other and feel better supported, which ultimately creates a stronger, happier and more cohesive team.”

The online course is complemented by other free resources featuring the tagline ‘Chances are one of your work family needs to talk’.

For more information, visit

Image credit: Dominique Cherry from DEC Creatives

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