Hospitality Saskatchewan is launching a new mental health support program for people in the industry affected by the pandemic.
CEO Jim Bence says the uncertainty of the pandemic has not been easy on the industry, or its workers.
“We noticed a year ago that many in our industry, tens of thousands laid off, now we’re going from environments that are very social environments as hospitality folks, into isolation,” said Bence. “Right away, within the first month, we were getting more and more stories about people struggling with anxiety, depression, those kinds of things.”
Bence says Saskatchewan has been luckier than other provinces, as they’ve been allowed to operate safely for much of the pandemic, rather than stay shut down.
He adds with Regina now in a second lockdown, many hospitality workers are back to where they were a year ago.
“When Regina moves back into this two week period, now all of a sudden, those same folks are back at home, they’re worried about their jobs, they’re worried about their rent or their mortgage payment, this is where the anxiety levels start to go up,” said Bence. “It is distressing for some, certainly in Regina and their industry.”
Bence says mental health is more important now than ever before. He adds there are a few ways people can help out industry workers during the second lockdown.
“Try to order out more than you normally would, that’s the best way to support these local operators. By doing that, they can keep more people employed,” said Bence. “The other thing is, let’s keep an eye out on each other, if you know someone that’s in the industry, and they’re at home, make sure that you’re reaching out and contacting them. Nobody wants to be alone in times like this.”
The first mental health resource will be launched on April 1st. It features a wellness webinar by Allan Kehler, a best-selling author on mental health issues, where Kehler shares his experience with mental illness.
Those interested can register for the webinar through the website at www.hospitalitysk.ca