How does being a chef affect your mental health?

I think it is a well known fact that hospitality is a particularly hard trade to be part of. This is mostly due to the long hours, hard working terms and lots of time away from your friends and family and taking part in very little or no social activities. This can include missing out on time and special events like Christmas or special birthdays. The industry has so many rewards including doing something you love which is something I am hugely passionate about, but these hard-working conditions can take its toll on your health and most importantly your mental health. I have been reading this week, some interesting articles about mental health in hospitality. In the UK, more than 10 million work days are lost to stress, depression, and anxiety each year and with hospitality making up a huge part of the UK economy some part of this must be affecting the industry.

I think now more than ever mental health is more talked about and less a topic that is taboo. This has brought where mental health’s standing light-years forward with social media implementing different campaigns such as #itsoktonotbeok and this is endorsed by many celebrities too. But I think what is important is the way we can be dealing with stress, depression and anxiety in the work place and are there ways we can make this easier on employees and ways establishments can make up for the time lost with friends and family such as inviting them to social events put on by establishments, time back in lieu, one weekend off a month or overtime.
However, the idea of stress in a kitchen or being a chef being a high-pressured job is not really a new idea and with the media almost glamorising the industry with movies about fast paced kitchens and celebrity chefs it can be misconstrued for what it is which is a really hard but rewarding industry to be part of.
Because of this high pressure the chef world is faced with addiction such as drugs, gambling and alcohol and some are resorting to even using these as ways to get through hard shifts. There is also the mentality which is becoming less and less I hope which is the aggressive temperament towards the junior or newer members of the team which would constitute as bulling or even assault in most work places but as part of our industry is just part of the job.
So the question, is being a chef bad for your mental health? Is there any way we can implement innovative ideas and come away from the prehistoric ideas that behaving or putting this pressure on staff is acceptable and how can we stop this from happening?


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