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Eight in ten chefs experience poor mental health

Eight in ten chefs experience poor mental health

Nestlé Professional’s® CHEF® has released a report exploring mental health in professional kitchens and what can be done to reduce stress.

In a recent independent survey of UK chefs, it has found that eight in ten of those working in professional kitchens (81%) have experienced poor mental health during their careers.

Furthermore, almost half (48%) believe that not enough is being done to support their mental wellbeing in the workplace.

There is increasing acknowledgement that more needs to be done to open-up conversations around mental health and the report was commissioned to gain a better understanding of how chefs are affected and what can be done to improve the kitchen environment and lower stress levels.

The research shows that the top factors currently contributing to stress are staff shortages (58%), lack of time (43%) and limited budgets (42%). The lack of daylight was also cited, with 41% saying it negatively impacted on their wellbeing.

Not only is stress having an impact on the mental wellbeing of those in professional kitchens, the research has also revealed it’s having a negative impact on wider business operations, with almost three-quarters (73%) of chefs admitted to calling in sick due to stress.

CHEF® has collaborated with Renée Clarke, workplace wellbeing expert from The Work Well Hub to assess the current situation and what can be done to alleviate the issue in a new report, ‘At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens’. She provides insight and advice for creating a workplace environment that will encourage creativity and reduce stress.

The report also includes commentary from industry experts such as UKHospitality; mental health campaigns, Time to Change and Pilot Light; The Craft Guild of Chefs; Unite and fine dining restaurant, Cin Cin.

The research identified creativity as a key factor in reducing stress levels and increasing employee satisfaction with almost nine in ten chefs (87%) in agreement that more freedom to be creative in the kitchen would significantly improve their stress levels. However, the majority (85%) stated that their creativity is being stifled by other pressures in the kitchen.

Trade charity, Hospitality Action, whose work offers a lifeline to those who work in the hospitality industry have welcomed the report, with their chief executive, Mark Lewis commenting: “The most recent survey results from Nestlé Professional® add to the growing body of evidence that there is still much to do to with regards to mental wellbeing in the kitchen.”, he added, “We applaud anything that can be done to raise awareness of and de-stigmatise an issue that costs too many lives in our industry.”

To download a copy of the CHEF® report, At Boiling Point: Addressing mental wellbeing in professional kitchens visit: http://www.nestleprofessional.co.uk/CHEF/at-boiling-point