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56. So Let’s Talk

Today’s interview guest is Paddy Howley, founder of ‘So let’s talk,’ a hospitality and mental health project aiming to ‘86’ the silence around mental health and addiction in hospitality. A bartender who became a GM and then a consultant, Paddy has 13 years of personal experience in the industry and knows how a destructive cycle of long hours, no sleep, poor diet and high alcohol consumption can affect those in hospitality.

The idea for ‘So let’s talk’ came as a response to the lack of help for those in hospitality, creating an overwhelming response from those who have also felt the same. In this episode, Paddy discusses how he began ‘So let’s talk’ and his personal experiences with mental health, how the hospitality industry is changing and the power of collaboration.

Also discussed:

(1:08) Intro

(2:30) Background in hospitality and how it affected Paddy’s mental health; destructive behaviours/habit, the role of toxic masculinity, how setting up the platform began

(6:41) The different branches of ‘So let’s talk’, including training decks, online booking systems for non-destructive habits such as yoga and rock climbing, music therapy

(9:54) The power of collaboration, growth as an entrepreneur, micro-goals and personal development

(12:53) Toxic masculinity in the business space and hospitality, how it prevents people from talking about mental health, being open and transparent specifically about the value of your business and your responsibility

(20:21) Reframing issues positively/solutions-based work, internal monologue, catching the signs

(25:58) Being a first-time business owner, MLM’s

(28:42) What toxic masculinity is and how it can affect mental health discussions, showing weakness/vulnerability, perpetuating the value that you shouldn’t speak about your emotions when working

(33:30) The shifting age groups in hospitality and how it affects cultural change, the simple changes that can be made for positive change in hospitality

(39:17) Encouraging conversations in mental health in the everyday

(42:37) Craving connection in lockdown, adapting to new routines and avoiding technology in the first hour of the morning, the benefits of sleep

(49:36) Closing comments; where you can find ‘So let’s talk’, how you can support the business

So let’s talk website:

So let’s talk Instagram:

Paddy’s Instagram:

Welcome to Dark Coffee, the podcast that starts engaging and approachable conversations around mental health.

Join wellbeing advocate Alice Lyons as she attempts to normalise the conversation around mental health, from suicide to satisfaction and everything in between.

Dark Coffee aims to create a safe space to explore dark topics with curiosity, compassion and courage to empower people to build their mental strength, resilience and sense of connection.

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Suicide and Emotional Support Organisations – UK

Samaritans: Confidential suicide discussion and emotional support. Free helpline available round the clock. Text – 116123.  Call – 08457 909090  Email – Website –

Mind: Support and information for anyone suffering from a mental health issue. 0300 123 3393 Website –

Saneline: Practical information, crisis care and emotional support to people affected by mental health concerns. Helpline: 0845 767 8000, open daily from 6pm – 11pm.