Excellent Read: Mental Health In The Service Industry: Confronting The Stigma


MAY 23, 2017


This article has been re-shared from it’s original source, Sprudge.com

Mental Health in the Service Industry: Confronting the Stigma

“[T]he best approach to breaking the stigma about mental health in the workplace is talking about it more… Allowing colleagues to say “hey, I’m struggling today,” and not look down on them… is a step in the right direction.”


“Oh hey, I threw up in the bathroom.”

“I don’t know how many times I’ve said that,” confesses Jarboe, a barista trainer who has depression and anxiety. He’s referencing the moments he’s had bad panic attacks on bar, but didn’t feel like he could be honest about them. His vomit excuse isn’t real, he says, but in the moment is “the only thing I know that’s going to get me out of this bar shift right now,” he says.


Jarboe describes the feelings that overcome him as “a lot of dread. A lot of feeling like I’m going insane.” The worst part of it is, he says, is that you have to smile through the panic attack, lest the customer complain about poor service. “You just have to live in it. Your heart is going to be racing, you’re going to have terrible thoughts, and that’s just how it’s going to be,” he says.

One Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study found workers in the accommodations and food services industry to have the highest rate of substance abuse at 17%, compared to a national average of 9%. Another informal industry survey found that 84.8% of restaurant managers and kitchen staff report depression, 72.9% report anxiety, and 50% report substance abuse issues.

Dr. Maelisa Hall, licensed psychologist and owner of Hall Counseling Group in Irvine, California, specializes in workplace stress. “Dealing with people is one of the most stressful things you can do,” she says. “If you’re focused on customer service, a lot of how your day goes might depend on interactions you have with people throughout the day.”

Yet, the discussion of mental health in the specialty coffee workplace remains a rare occurrence.