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Hospitality Wellness Action Group update

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The Restaurant Association recently hosted the 3rd meeting for the Hospitality Mental Health & Wellness Action Group on 9 August 2018 as a move towards improving the state of mental health and wellbeing amongst the hospitality industry in New Zealand.

Progress since June 2018 meeting

A Wellness Panel has been formed consisting of a mix of industry leaders as well as mental health and wellness experts to open up discussions and break down the barriers around conversations regarding mental health and wellness specific to hospitality. This panel first took the stage in June of this year at the Fine Food New Zealand tradeshow in Auckland, and included Marisa Bidois (The Restaurant Association); Ben Bayly (The Grounds, Baduzzi); Anton Leyton (My Food Bag); Lisa Ducat (Mental Health Foundation); and Jamie Ford (Resilient Minds, Foresight).

This Wellness Panel will be replicated at The Restaurant Association & Eat New Zealand’s co-hosted annual conference HUI, which takes place 24 – 25 October 2018, with a longer session scheduled.

With the help of the Lewisham Foundation, who has donated $5,000 to help start mental health workshops in Auckland, the Restaurant Association – along with St John – will be hosting the first Mental Health First Aid for Hospitality seminar on 24th September.

The Restaurant Association is working with the Mental Health Foundation to gather resources to compile a library of information that will best fit the hospitality industry. A survey will be sent out to the industry to enquire how they want the support packaged.

Lifeline & Anxiety New Zealand presented their projects and resources to the Action Group

Lifeline: Peyton Wolframm (National Training Manager at Lifeline) and Dominic Boekweit (Fundraising Manager at Lifeline) both attended the August meeting and explained Lifeline’s goals, with the overall goal being a suicide-free Aotearoa.

Lifeline provides unique training courses condensed into 1-2 hours sessions that aim to build resilience and teach coping strategies. The most common reason for the 10,000 calls per month received by Lifeline is due to loneliness and not feeling connected. A proposed solution was to bring people together with shared meals. Ideas of an event or degustation was put on the table.

Anxiety New Zealand: Sarah Woolward (Chief Executive of Anxiety New Zealand) and Peter Toomey (Living with Anxiety video producer) both presented what Anxiety New Zealand does as a group. Anxiety New Zealand discussed their 24/7 helpline service and reported that most people that they see have been referred by their GP. Peter discussed the purpose of the Living with Anxiety short videos, which focusses on taking anger and issues in the workplace and making it humorous. He also provided ideas for humorous videos in hospo-specific workplaces.

Roundtable discussions

  • How can leaders can build awareness by talking more about their own stories?
  • How can we educate chefs and owners to address and implement the issues in their establishments, essentially making it normal to talk about these issues?
  • In addition to creating awareness, it is essential to know where to send people once they have reached out and made contact.
  • An idea to host an event or month dedicated to wellness with clear calls to action was brought up.
  • Suggestions were made to utilise the power of social media (Facebook group) to share and post ideas, resources and strategies.

Ongoing / open action items

The Restaurant Association continues to look for other avenues to fund support for wellbeing initiatives for hospitality.

The Restaurant Association will reach out to industry partners to begin to roll-out education resources, content, and information on a variety of topics to begin conversations as well as build awareness and knowledge around mental health and wellbeing issues.

There will be further follow up regarding unique training courses condensed into 1-2 hours, with opportunities to host in Restaurant Association’s taste. venue and stream/record.

Call to actions will be monitored and a wellness survey will be distributed amongst the industry to enquire further.

A longer and more robust panel discussion is scheduled for 24 – 25 October at HUI 2018.

Any further questions, comments or suggestions can be directed to the Restaurant Association at info@restaurantnz.co.nz.

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