Today is R U OK Day? and Australians are being encouraged to check in with friends, family and colleagues beyond asking the initial question.

The theme of the 2021 day is: “Are they really OK? Ask them today”, which is prompting us to go a little deeper and take the time to gauge if someone needs help.

Research conducted earlier in the year by Kantar found one third of hospitality workers felt disconnected and isolated, with 49 per cent of workers wishing someone had reached out to them in the last 12 months.

One third said COVID-19 had negatively impacted their mental health.

“The work environment for people in the hospitality industry – from a one-person coffee cart to a hotel chain – often holds some unique financial, social and emotional stresses,” says R U OK? CEO Katherine Newton.

“It could be the fast-paced nature of the job, the isolation of shift work or struggling to manage due to casual rosters.

“In an industry like this, added external pressures can have a financial and emotional impact. This has become more acute with the added disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The mental health awareness organisation has launched a Mateship Manual in collaboration with the industry that provides information on spotting the signs someone may be struggling as well as a step-by-step guide to beginning a conversation if someone says they are not ok.

Download the free manual here.

If you or someone you know is struggling, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.