R U OK? Shines a light on the hospitality industry

Suicide prevention charity R U OK? is shining a light on the hospitality industry and trying to help us all to better understand if a friend or colleague may be struggling with life and learn more about navigating a conversation with someone you are worried about.

Last year R U OK commissioned a survey of hospitality workers which revealed that 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. Eighty per cent! That is an incredible number.

The survey also found that around 50 per cent of hospitality workers in the last year said they had wanted someone at work to ask them if they were OK, while around 40 per cent had thought about asking someone if they were OK, but didn’t. When asked why, one-third said they didn’t feel it was their place to ask the question. It’s that obstacle that R U OK? is working to overcome and help people to understand the signs that a colleague needs help and give them the confidence to ask the question.

“We know the majority of Australians believe talking to someone who’s struggling can make a difference. But what we’re hearing, is that people aren’t sure when the right time is to have an R U OK? conversation,” said R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton.

“Signs can be subtle changes in verbal or non-verbal behaviour. A loved one might tell you they’re having difficulty switching off or a mate might be withdrawing from social situations like not turning up to training.

“We’re encouraging people to look out for those cues. We can also make a conscious effort when we know someone is going through a significant life change such as job loss, relationship breakdown, study pressure or perhaps becoming a parent.”

R U OK? has taken its ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ around Australia, which will complete its journey in Sydney on 12 September to coincide with R U OK?Day, a national day of action marked with events around the country.

“By taking the ‘Trust the Signs Tour’ around Australia, we hope to empower people to trust their gut instinct and ask the question as soon as they spot the signs that someone might be struggling with life,” Newton added.

It’s not all bad though, and hospitality workers are getting better, the R U OK? survey found the majority of those surveyed said they do feel that they can access support from colleagues, not just family and friends, should they need it. Also 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. Great work all.

R U OK? is encouraging all Australians to learn the signs, download a practical toolkit and start regular meaningful conversations throughout their communities when its needed. More information on how to get involved can be found at:

For support at any time of day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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