Less than half of drinks staff ‘on top of mental health’

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Mental wellbeing: The Benevolent CEO Chris Porter addresses mental health issues in the industry
Mental wellbeing: The Benevolent CEO Chris Porter addresses mental health issues in the industry
According to statistics revealed by Chris Porter, chief executive of drinks industry charity The Benevolent at Craft Beer Rising 2019, only 46% of staff describe themselves as being ‘on top of their mental health’.

A survey of approximately 700 people in the drinks industry, ranging from bartenders to vineyard workers, by The Benevolent, highlighted that despite strides made in recent years, the drinks industry still has a way to go in addressing the mental health of its staff. 

According to findings revealed at Craft Beer Rising 2019, approximately half of respondents (49%) believe that their company has no mental health mechanisms in place, while a third revealed that they had experienced high levels of stress, anxiety and fatigue in their line of work.

“The absolute key for us is to make people aware that if people are behaving slightly oddly or are quiet, to go up and talk to them,” Porter explained. “Ask them if they’re OK. It’s better to be signed off for a week than six months. It could be life-threatening, business takes a back seat.” 

According to Porter, 52 people called The Benevolent phone line in January 2019 alone, with conversations ranging in length from “about a minute and a half” to six hours.  

“They might just want to check in or you might find someone who’s really at the end of their life’s tether.”

Increasing need for support 

The Benevolent, which offers support to anyone within the drinks industry experiencing a financial, medical or personal crisis has seen industry staff in roles including as sales, van drivers, logistics, distilling, off-trade, cocktail makers and warehouse workers increasingly in need of support.

This follows news reported by The Morning Advertiser ​that more than 13,000​ people were supported by the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) in 2018 thanks to £1m-plus in grants.

The number of beneficiaries in 2018 rose by 45% on the previous year, with many of those gaining help from the charity using its 24/7 helpline, which is staffed by advisers.

Additionally, an interview with Shaun Hill, founder of Hill Farmstead Brewery in Vermont, US, highlighted that the relationship between mental health and alcohol consumption is too often ignored​ by members of the beer and brewing industry.

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