The bus, which is pioneered and supported by commercial kitchen cleaning specialist Bright Hygiene, will be parked on stand F769 at hospitality trade show HRC at ExCeL, London from 3-5 March.
QEII’s director of sales and marketing, Diane Waldron and representatives from social enterprise 5asideCHESS and Bright Hygiene, will be manning the bus over the three days to raise awareness of suicide prevention and promote good mental health.
They will also be rallying stakeholders from across the hospitality industry to apply for places in two forthcoming mental health discussions with a difference.
The discussions – one for industry leaders in hospitality and events and one for frontline staff – will take place on 5asideCHESS’s Battling Suicide Bus outside The QEII Centre in Westminster on Friday 20 March, with those who participate also pledging tangible action for industry-wide solutions to improve mental health.
Diane Waldron, director of sales and marketing at QEII and supporter of 5asideCHESS, said: “I’ve worked in the event and hospitality industry for over 30 years. Both sectors are high-pressured environments which can lead to those working in them becoming stressed and developing mental health problems.
“We have seen increasing openness of mental health issues in recent years, which is a welcomed step. However, through my involvement with 5asideCHESS’s Battling Suicide Bus over the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to people who are suffering and I am very aware that we still have a long way to go if we are to improve outcomes for those struggling with their mental health. I’ve learned that you really don’t have to scratch very far below the surface of any of us to discover that we all have battles to fight, whether they are our own, or those of people we love. That’s as true for me as it is for anyone else.
“That is why we at QEII are collaborating with stakeholders to bring about meaningful change in the industry. Where mental health is concerned, talking and listening are good, but action is better.
“I think it’s really important to be taking the Battling Suicide Bus to HRC so that we can engage with visitors from across all sectors of the hospitality industry about the importance of taking action ahead of our own mental health round table later this month.”
QEII’s first candid discussion will involve frontline staff, such as event planners, chefs and front-of-house staff who will share their experiences and thoughts on mental health issues and their causes before discussing ways they, and their employers can help improve the working environment.
The second discussion will bring together senior members of staff and industry leaders who will discuss the issues faced in the workplace, but more importantly, present solutions which they will pledge to back and implement.
With space limited to six seats for each discussion, QEII will carefully select applications with priority given to individuals and organisations who share the same passion for making a change. Applications for a seat on the bus should be made here by Friday 6 March. Applicants will be expected to provide further evidence of their suitability before their place is confirmed.