Pilot Light for mental health in hospitality


Chef and restaurateur Andrew Clarke has recently launched Pilot Light, which is a campaign to raise the awareness of mental health in the hospitality industry. Clarke has set up Pilot light with fellow chef Doug Sanham and they are undertaking this campaign in partnership with Time to Change.

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Mental health issues is becoming more talked about over recent months, but this is the first specific campaign that is focused on the hospitality industry.

The goal of Pilot Light is to get people talking about mental health and be more equipped to recognise the signs of mental health issues in others and in turn be able to help and support their colleagues. The hospitality sector is so fast paced that you do not always get a chance to check on yourself, let alone others, which is part of the problem. To get the best out of the sector, looking after those that work in it must be at the forefront and mental health is key issue to support.

Pilot Light website will be focal to the campaign, which has the target to be used as a forum for people to tell their stories and act as a support network for everyone that wishes to use it.

The initiative for Pilot Light started when Andrew Clarke shared his stories and issues with mental health on Instagram. He wants any young chef coming into the industry to eb able to visit the website and see their heroes and those that they look up to discussing these sensitive issues. It will break down barriers and allow those with mental health issues to feel that they are not alone and it is ok to discuss the subject and to seek advice and help, and in turn to normalise rather than isolate.

Something that Pilot Light wants to achieve is for the hospitality sector to have information posters in staffrooms that will be the equivalent of health and safety posters that are scene as the norm. by having these posters It will help normalise and make people aware of mental health issues, but more importantly provide guidance for those that need it.

Pilot Light will naturally be easier for independent operators to adopt, but it is designed for all sized business to get involved and embrace. Two big hitters that are supporting Pilot Light are Soho House and Baxter Storey which will hopefully assist in getting other large companies to adopt this campaign. Baxter Storey employs 21,000 people, which will make a massive positive difference to their workforce. It shows if a company of this size wants to adopt it, every company has the ability to do so.

Pilot Light is designed to help give those with mental health issues who work in the hospitality sector the tools and knowledge to combat their problems and officially launches on 14 May 2019, for more information, see www.pilotlightcampaign.co.uk