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Breaking the silence on mental health in hospitality

Breaking the silence on mental health in hospitality

So what's up with mental health in the hospitality industry? 

Well, quite a lot actually. 

It's estimated that 1 in 2 people working in hospitality face problems with their mental health. 

Late nights, unsociable hours, high stress environments all take their toll. 

In 2020, extract started working with So Let's Talk, an organisation focused on improving mental health support for hospitality workers. As our industry continues to navigate the impacts of lockdowns, brexit and a cost of living crisis, supporting our people has never been more important as it is now.

So Let's Talk Founder, Patrick Howley, shares a little insight:

“There was a study published in 2015 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the US, and it showed that the hospitality industry has the highest use of illegal drugs of any sector, more than double the average. 

And it’s on the increase. In the same study, only Heavy Mining and Construction had higher rates of excessive alcohol consumption. Similar studies have been conducted in Australia & the UK and found similar stats.”

So Let's Talk deliver mental health training within the industry and they base their training around 3 core pillars.

  • Brain
  • Body
  • Bank

These are So Let's Talk's three pillars for a healthy hospitality model. This isn’t a guide to make you invincible, or immune to sickness, but focusing on these 3 things will help keep you in good mental health as much as possible.

There are loads of great resources on the So Let's Talk website, so if you're in the industry and looking for support for yourself, or for your team, or, if you'd just like to know more. We recommend checking them out.

3 ways Extract supports mental health awareness in hospitality.

Here are 3 ways that we're supporting individuals in hospitality to navigate an incredibly difficult few years. 

Fundraising & Awareness

Since 2021 extract has supported So Let's Talk. An organisation dedicated to improving mental health support and awareness for hospitality professionals. 

We support So Let's Talk through donations from our Inner Strength community coffee. The money raised has so far funded mental health training sessions for over 400 hospitality professionals. 


Members of the Extract team have also undertaken some pretty awesome challenges to raise awareness and funds for So Let's Talk. 

In 2021, Extract's Account Manager, Jack, climbed 10 peaks in 10 hours with So Let's Talk and in 2021, Extract's Customer Coordinator, Jen, climbed an eye-watering 24 peaks in 24 hours. 

Some words of inspiration from Extract's Jen: 

"Now that I’m all rested and recovered, time for some reflection on this challenge. What a dream it was, I cannot express how physically and mentally demanding climbing 24 peaks in 24 hours is.

I almost quit a few times if it weren’t for the people around me truly believing I could do it. Such a solid crew. Thank you Extract Coffee and  So Let's Talk for this incredible opportunity. Thanks to everyone who has sent words of encouragement or donations. Having been in the hospitality industry for 10+ years this organisation and cause means so much to me."

Education and inclusion

Empathy, understanding and inclusion have a huge role to play to helping our colleagues feel accepted and supported in the workplace. 

So Let's Talk are champions of this. 

They offer group and 121 sessions focussing on three pillars of health: Body, Brain and Bank.  

Their intro sessions cover all three pillars, and then there are deeper sessions focussed on individual pillars. So, businesses and individuals have a choice over which sessions will resonate best with them. 

Finally, the team offer three management-focussed sessions, to ensure that managers are both able to take care of their own mental health and also empower others in their team to do the same. 

To celebrate 10 years of our Summer Espresso, Funka, Extract Coffee Roasters sent 100 hospitality professionals on LGBTQIA+ inclusion training with Stonewall. Our entire team went on the inclusion training too. 

A step towards improving diversity and inclusion in our industry.

Supporting our team

We recognise that it's not enough to simply talk the talk, we need to lead by example and ensure our own team are supported with their mental health. 

In our business we've introduced a number of initiatives to help our people strike a better work-life balance and to support them in managing their mental health based on the three pillars(Brain, Bank, Body) shared by So Let's Talk.

Some of these include: 

  • Employee Assistance Programme (also known as an EAP). The EAP we have in place means our team (and their partners) can access mental health support and counselling sessions, financial and legal advice when needed. 
  • Physical wellbeing. Included in our EAP are articles on health and wellbeing, breathing exercises, meditations, recipes and video workouts. We also hold monthly yoga sessions in the roastery where our team can come together to practice. 
  • Enhanced annual leave. We offer additional days holiday for long-standing employees, giving them more time to spend on their wellbeing and on other areas of their lives. 
  • Connecting. As a national business with team mates based in Bristol, London and Manchester, connecting in real life is harder than it used to be. We use technology to help us when we can (Coffee tastings via Google Hangouts, a Spotify Music League and a channel dedicated to Good Feels on Slack all help). We also make an effort to have meaningful in-person connections with activities like climbing, pottery and beer-tasting woven into our most recent all-company meeting. 

This list isn't exhaustive. There are lots more that we want to (plan to) introduce. But it's a start and a step in the right direction.