Sarah is assistant general manager at Liverpool street food market, Baltic Market. We chatted to Sarah to find out what she learned on the Two Day Mental Health First Aid course.
What made you want to attend the Mental Health First Aid course?
I work with a large demographic of young guys, typically aged between 18 – 25 and I felt limited in the advice I could offer, due to not sharing their lived experiences. There are 26 young guys working with us, who are all studying A Levels, GCSES and degrees. They’re all going through their own different things such as moving away from home and the pressures that brings. The course has given me better tools to be able to sit down and introduce good options for them without relying on my own experiences.
Then you’ve also got that guy mentality. There are a lot of guys in there who are always trying to say, “Let’s go for a pint after work” and things, instead of talking about the issues they have going on.
Do you think the hospitality industry can have a culture of normalising a work environment with alcohol and parties?
Yeah, I spoke about this to my boss. I’ve been working in the hospitality industry for like 11 years and it is a massive part of it. If you’re working in a bar or a restaurant, something like that, or a hotel even, you’re not coming out of work until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. The only social side that you get is with the people that you’re working with, and it’s going out and drinking in town and that’s their only outlet – that’s it. Obviously for a lot of them it’s their first job and you go straight into that and that’s it. The only way they know how to deal with stuff is to go and have a drink after work because they don’t know other way to do it.
What did you learn from the Mental Health First Aid course?
I think it’s helped reduce the stigma for me and showed me that mental health can be healthy or unhealthy. I’m confident I could now listen more effectively – asking open ended questions and making the person feel they could chat comfortably to me.
Would you recommend the course?
Yes. I think with the course would be good for managers in bars, restaurants and hotels. We need to support staff so we don’t even have to get to the first aid scenario.