Pilot Light is a campaign designed to change the way people think and act about mental health within the hospitality industry by addressing specific industry-related contexts, attitudes and environments found in professional kitchens and throughout the broader hospitality sector.
I never believed in depression and only ever saw the world in a positive light. But it's not until you experience it, that you realise just how real it is. I now reach out to people going through the same. I want to give back as much as I can, through charity or voice.
Pilot Light began in 2016 with a late-night Instagram post on World Mental Health Day. Having suffered from mental health issues over the years, Andrew decided to share his experiences on social media. He was stunned when he awoke the next morning to an outpouring of support and responses, from young commis chefs to Michelin-starred heavy weights, sharing similar stories of their struggles with mental health.
This initiated a public discussion about the lack of support for young creative people in an industry with a particularly bad press reputation for bullying, high pressured environments, late nights and staff abuse. Not only was there a lack of support, but people were suffering alone and in silence due to the stigma around speaking openly about mental health. Andrew vowed to do something about it.
The Instagram post led to a news article in the Guardian, and laid the foundation for Pilot Light.
Depression can happen to anyone of us. Don’t suffer in silence.
Talk to someone. Talk to me.
So, what is Pilot Light?
Founded by chefs Andrew Clarke and Doug Sanham, the campaign is unapologetically bold in its approach to combating mental health stigma and hopes to act as a beacon of support to those affected by common-place issues such as depression.
As a global social good company, we are wholly committed to raising awareness and providing support to the thousands in the workforce. By bringing together individuals, restaurants and businesses to work together, we will drive real, direct, effective changes towards making their environment a safe, supported and happy one.
Through fundraising and your help, our plan is to educate, provide valuable content, training, resources, information and develop technologies that will gel the community together. Along with our dedicated teams of mental health advisors, our focus will be on prevention and support for all those that need it.
With the donations received, we will be investing in a number of initiatives that will enrich our industry and make it a better place to work in.