In the past few years, discussions regarding mental health issues in the hospitality industry have become more prominent. For many workers, the high-stress, fast-paced environment fuels addiction, substance abuse, and exacerbates mental health problems.
Hospitality workers face immense pressure to satisfy customers, co-workers, and supervisors. Known to many as "occupational hazards", the hospitality industry lends itself to a culture of late-night binge drinking, harassment (verbal, physical, and sexual), substance abuse, eating disorders, poor living and working conditions which result in low self-esteem, poor relationships with loved ones, depression and anxiety symptoms, and even suicide.
With immense pressure comes low wages. For those looking to break the cycle and turn to professional help, many counseling services are out of reach. Restaurant After Hours established itself to fill this need.
In the last few years, chefs and restauranteurs have begun to come forward talking about the mental health issues the industry faces. Talks about addiction, violence, stress, turnover, heavy workloads, and the #MeToo movement are becoming less stigmatized.
Some restaurants across the country are beginning to change their business models to focus on employee well-being. These include limited hours, higher pay, offering health insurance, and better workplace conditions.
However, even with better workplace benefits in place, it is not enough to fix someone's personal life. Industry standards prevent employees from bringing their personal lives into work. They are responsible for being physically and mentally present, focusing on a multitude of responsibilities in harsh working conditions, and ignoring their personal problems for 10-14 hours a day.
Restaurant After Hours was conceived to begin to fix the tangibles hospitality workers face outside of the restaurant business model. With a median salary of just $29,000 in New York City, most hospitality employees can not afford insurance, let alone counseling for themselves. We are here to provide valuable information to those employees who need it.
We are here to raise mental health awareness, create a safe community, and begin to help hospitality workers structure their personal lives.
We are here to support the industry that nourishes us.