Hello, fine people. I’m tearing up as the responses to the mental health survey come in. More than one hundred of them have come in thus far, and people are pouring out their hearts. Some are remaining anonymous and I will always respect that, and others are stepping forward to speak their piece. You’ll see some of those published soon and I welcome more voices. I don’t want this to be a solo project.
What’s standing out to me thus far is that well over half of the respondents say they have remained completely silent about what they’re going through. Mainly because they don’t want to be thought of as crazy, seen as weak or even bullied because of what they’re going through. This is something that we’re doing to each other. Seeing another human in pain and dismissing that because of its origin seems antithetical to what the industry is about: Hospitality, sustenance, welcoming.
Let’s give each other a break in 2016, maybe? Mental illness isn’t catching, but empathy is.
Also: Currently, 66% of respondents are saying they’re using alcohol to seek relief (plenty of other substances, too—y’all like to smoke up!). I certainly enjoy a cocktail, myself, but I’m getting the sense from responses that a certain amount of this is about self-medicating. If there’s someone out there in the community with more experience who would care to get involved and perhaps address the substance abuse or addition aspects of this, or share right here.