Almost two-thirds (62%) of hospitality workers don't think the sector takes care of its employees, according to research by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
In its latest report, Service With(out) a Smile, more than four out of five (84%) hospitality workers reported increased stress which was believed to be a direct consequence of their job. As a result, almost half (45%) of respondents said they would not recommend working in hospitality.
Three quarters (74%) have experienced verbal abuse from a customer, almost a quarter (24%) required medical or psychological help, and only around one in 10 (10%) had received training to support health and wellbeing, or access to mentoring, health champions or mental health first aiders.
Recommendations that emerged from the research to look after employee mental health and wellbeing included employers to put in place a package of support to protect the mental health and wellbeing of staff including sick leave, regular one-to-ones between managers and employees, health champions and mental health first aiders; and improved enforcement of employment rights.
Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH said: "At some point in our lives many of us will have experienced working in the hospitality industry, so we understand how demanding this working environment can be. Having access to good mental health support is essential for workplaces, and we are pleased that there are a number of initiatives being rolled out across the sector.
"However, it is clear from our research that this support is not reaching everyone, with two thirds of hospitality workers reporting that they don't believe the sector does enough to look after its staff. It is also concerning that around a quarter of staff have had to resort to psychological intervention or medication to deal with work related stress. Investing in staff health and wellbeing is not just the right thing to do for individuals, but it will ultimately benefit the hospitality sector in the long term."
Anne Pierce, chief executive of the Springboard Charity, said: "Mental health is a topic being discussed more and more nowadays and it's extremely important that we begin making changes to our working practices to ensure that it's kept at the forefront. Mental health is just as important as physical health and its imperative for hospitality employers to recognise this and to value the wellbeing of the hospitality workforce."