282 | ‘People Have Changed’: Hospitality industry deals with workers’ mental health in the age of COVID-19


The coronavirus crisis has put unprecedented amounts of stress not only on health care systems and economies but on workers’ mental health.

That’s the first and bottom line of a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Managers.

The professional association surveyed more than a thousand workers in mid-April and found that nearly half feel emotionally drained from their work. The younger the employee, the more likely they feel burned out.

Employees who feel totally sapped of energy are more prone to depression.

As state and local economies reopen amid the threat of COVID-19, citizens are getting back to daily living. But people are not the same as they were before the pandemic struck, experts say, and the nation’s workplaces may be where mental health issues become most obvious.

In this episode of Lodging Leaders, we focus on mental health in the workplace – particularly the hospitality industry which has been dramatically impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Featured in this report are Silpa Patel, a hotelier in Tennessee who has battled depression and now works with behavioral health organizations to eliminate the stigma of mental illness; Darcy Gruttadaro, director of the Center for Workplace Mental Health at the American Psychiatric Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Wendi Safstrom, executive director of the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation in Alexandria, Va.; and Marjorie Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Psych Hub in Nashville, Tennessee.

Resources and Links

  • 311 | Shelters From the Norm: Hotels used for hospitals and housing face unexpected problems

    A year ago, Darshan Patel, CEO of Hotel Investment Group in San Diego, California, was one of the first hoteliers in the U.S. to step up and offer properties to overwhelmed hospitals seeking places to care for COVID and non-COVID patients as well as vulnerable populations. As the crisis eases and Hotel Investment Group works to return the hotels to business, Patel is negotiating with local governments to pay for the wear and tear on the properties. Patel is not alone as many hoteliers are unexpectedly dealing with problems that state and local governments’ urgent decisions have created, including property damage, increased costs and eviction bans. This report is the second in a two-part series examining the pros and cons of opening hotels to alternative uses during the pandemic. It is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

  • 310 | Hotels Convert to Housing: Federal COVID-19-relief funds fuel transactions

    Dhruv Patel, president of Ridgemont Hospitality, in October shared a bittersweet moment with his parents, Pravin and Sima Patel, when the family business sold the first motel that Pravin had built from the ground up more than 30 years ago. But they rest assured knowing it was the right decision because the 22-room property is being converted into affordable housing for military veterans at risk of homelessness. The transaction is among hundreds taking place across the U.S. as state and local governments work with non-profit agencies to create affordable housing solutions for vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Episode 310 Long Live Lodging reports on the financial and legal aspects of what it takes to convert a hotel into long-term housing. This report is part of Long Live Lodging’s special coverage of the coronavirus crisis and its impact on the hospitality industry.

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