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Hunt Hospitality takes a holistic approach to staff mental health

For staff at Hunt Hospitality, which manages local pubs The Kent Hotel Hamilton, Duke Of Wellington Hotel, Seabreeze Hotel, Finnian's Irish Tavern and Ocean View Hotel Urunga, a mental health wellbeing program initiated last year is now ensuring all 250 employees have access to mental health support when it matters most...

Hunt Hospitality Managing Director Stephen Hunt said the initiative, which sees the hotel group pay for up to three confidential counseling sessions on the employee's behalf, was first created last year after one of the group’s licensees identified a few of the younger employees were struggling with depression and other mental health issues.

“After consulting several counseling services in regions where our venues are based, and with the assistance of my wife, a medical health professional, the group entered into an agreement with mental health group NewPsych,” Mr Hunt said.

“While the service has been used throughout the past year, we’ve noticed that billing has reflected a bigger uptake in the last few months with work shutdowns and the isolation of the Coronavirus Pandemic exacerbating mental health issues.

“Managing mental health is a necessity and it’s got to be addressed. You’ve got to look at it as if you would any other workplace injury. Holistically, if it helps put someone on the right path either within the industry or outside of it, that’s a victory on our end.”

Mr Hunt said since being introduced, the program is proving extremely beneficial to the business overall with some staff also using the program to build on existing leadership, stress management, and coping skills in order to improve work-life balance and increase industry management skills.

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