• Sam K

Mental Health in the Hospitality Industry

Updated: Apr 1, 2019



Not only is food service alone the nation’s largest industry, it posts the highest rates of drug and alcohol abuse as well as stunningly high rates of divorce and broken relationships. Long hours and constantly changing schedules create incredible stress which is compounded by the limited (or absent) financial safety net for most front-line employees and even a number of managers and owners.


This harsh reality is reflected in the results of a recent survey posted on the site Chefs with Issues. Here are some of the eye-opening stats of the subjects in the case study who were kitchen staff:


84.2% suffer from depression.

73.2% suffer from anxiety.

49.9% deal with substance abuse issues.

57% of people said they felt they couldn’t say anything to people they work with.

And why?

68.6% didn’t want to be thought of as weak.

54.1% didn’t want to be thought of as crazy.

Only 3.9% of people said their issues had nothing to do with the profession. 


Another aspect that needs to be influenced is the culture surrounding drugs and alcohol in the industry, and making ourselves available to listen to colleagues and direct them to resources if you think they need help. At the end of the day, kitchen workers often see each other more than their own families, so who better to reach out than you.


Are you or someone you know depressed, struggling with substance abuse, or contemplating suicide? Please reach out with one of these resources:


Canadian Crisis Services - Call toll Free - 1.833.456.4566 or text at 45645 between 4pm-12am ET.

Canadian Mental Health Association - Call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000

Crisis Text Line - Text HOME to 686868 in Canada to text with a trained Crisis Responder

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse/Mental Health) - Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or TTY: 1-800-487-4889

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