Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a major impact on the wellbeing and mental health of many people working in tourism, which is widely accepted as the global industry most affected by the pandemic.
As businesses face ongoing challenges and continued uncertainty, it is vital that employers look after their own mental health and support their staff to do the same.
Stress affects us all in different ways, and it is only normal to feel anxious about what the future holds, so we’ve put together some tips and resources on managing mental health.
1. Look after yourself
First things first – it’s so important that we take care of our own mental health and are able to recognise problems when they happen.
Mental health issues cover a wide range of conditions, including:
- Anxiety – this can encompass feelings of worry, tension or fear. Although it is common to be anxious, especially at times of stress, it can lead to panic attacks or affect your everyday life.
- Depression – a feeling of low mood that affects everyday life, depression can be mild or it can be severe and life-threatening.
- Eating problems – these emerge when people have a difficult relationship with food, sometimes leading to disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
- Obsessive compulsive disorder – OCD can cause people to have obsessive thoughts, intense anxiety or display repetitive behaviours.
- Bipolar disorder – this is a specific condition which affects someone’s moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.
Business Gateway has a great guide explaining why mental health matters, the signs to watch out for when our mental health is being impacted and some tips to support you.
The charity Scottish Association for Mental Health also has some practical tips on lifestyle changes and techniques to help manage any problems:
- Stay aware of your mental health so you can spot any warning signs if you need support
- Connect with other people and build your own network
- Look after your physical health – by getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising, it can help your mental health
- Contact a medical professional or specialist organisation if you are struggling as help, through therapies and medication, is available.
2. Check in
All employers have a duty of care to their employees and this includes welfare as well as physical health and safety.
Check in with your staff and make sure that they are coping with the ongoing changes.
- Reassure staff that their safety and wellbeing is a priority and keep an open dialogue with managers and staff on how they are feeling.
- Encourage your team members to complete a Wellness Action Plan created by the charity Mind and share this with you. There are guides for line managers, for employees and one specifically for people working from home. They will offer practical steps to help support good mental health.
- Provide and promote access to mental health support for all employees, including awareness raising, and tools and techniques to manage mental health.
- With many continuing to work from home, we know that it can be isolating; ensure you and your team talk regularly, whether it’s virtually or, where possible, in person.
3. Plan and prepare
Workplaces may look different, in line with Scottish Government guidance, so it is important that staff feel confident about what is expected of them at work.
Our Government advice and FAQs page is updated with the latest information on the likes of Test and Protect. This is a helpful resource to keep you and your staff complying with the current guidance.
Staff training is vital and should increase confidence, ensuring they feel that their workplace is a place that values their safety.
4. Reach out for support
Reach out if you need support for you or your staff. There are many support channels available for the workplace:
- Hospitality Health is a Scottish charity to support staff in the world of hospitality, providing wellbeing advice, videos and an employee assistant programme.
- Business Gateway offers a range of support to businesses, including HR advice and wellbeing information and has a variety of resources on its website such as webinars and online tutorials.
- ACAS provides advice and guidance for managers and businesses to enable them to support employees’ mental health.
- The Scottish Association for Mental Health has a wealth of resources for both individuals and employers.
- Mental Health at Work also has a number of resources for line managers and staff and you can search for ones relevant to your sector.
4. Practical resources for managers
Clear your head campaign partner toolkit
Clear your head campaign assets, in a range of languages and accessible formats, for use by businesses to support the physical and mental health of employees and customers
Acas guide to positive mental health at work
Advice on how to implement a wellness action plan
Making adjustments to support your staff at work
Guide for line managers: what can you do to help a team member returning to work?
How to implement the Thriving at Work mental health standards in your workplace
Guide for Managing stress in the workplace for people working in hospitality
5. Advice for individuals
There are a lot of online resources specifically designed to help you cope with stress and metal health issues. If you are feeling overwhelmed, help is available:
- NHS Inform – includes help and advice about how to access support and what to do if you're worried about your mental health
- The Samaritans – provides a range of information on the effects of coronavirus on mental health. You can call the Samaritans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on 116 123.
- Clear Your Head – aims to help support people with their mental health and provides simple tips to help cope and signposting to information and support.
- Mind – offer free national advice and support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem with events and workshops that employees can attend to increase awareness.
- Breathing Space – offers advice and support confidentially on 0800 83 85 87 and the website contains tips on staying connected and other information.