NEARLY 60 per cent of employees in the Scottish hospitality industry have experienced mental health problems at work.

Long hours, poor work-life balance and a high-pressure working environment were cited as the three biggest causes of work-related stress, a survey commissioned by trade event ScotHot found.

The survey, of more than 500 people currently working in the industry, found that 57% have experienced difficulties such as stress, depression and anxiety. The issues will be debated on the Scottish Tourism Alliance Spotlight Stage at ScotHot at Glasgow’s SECC on Thursday.

Chaired by broadcaster Stephen Jardine, the Talking About It: Mental Health in Hospitality debate will bring together a panel of industry figures to discuss the study, and examine what can be done to improve and promote positive mental health throughout Scotland’s hospitality sector.

The survey follows the launch of Hospitality Health, a new Scottish charity set up to support the wellbeing of staff and students across the industry.

Charity founder Gordon McIntyre, associate dean for hospitality and tourism at City of Glasgow College, said: “The health and wellbeing of people working in the hospitality industry must be a priority for employers. We need to put mental health at the top of our agenda, and let staff see that this is something we take seriously.

“By launching Hospitality Health, our aim is to encourage more staff to eat well, take regular exercise and drink responsibly. If we can help each and every person working in the industry to become physically and mentally healthier, whilst maintaining our love and passion for hospitality, our sector will not only be a more positive place for everyone, but also more sustainable."

Mr McIntyre will take part in the debate alongside Gary Macdonald, mental health community partner at the Department for Work and Pensions, Giovanna Eusebi, owner of Glasgow's Eusebi Deli, and Stuart Ralston, chef patron of Aizle Restaurant in Edinburgh.