Brutal pressure at work is causing depression in many chefs. In one survey, more than half said they took painkillers or drink to get through shifts. What is happening behind the kitchen doors?

In October last year Andrew Clarke, head chef of the much-admired Brunswick House restaurant in Vauxhall, London, posted a picture of himself to Instagram. It’s in black and white. He is sitting at a table against a wall of distressed plaster, his straggly hair unsuccessfully tucked away beneath a ragged beanie hat, tattooed arms on show. In his hand is a teacup and before him, a bottle of spirits, the implication being that the contents of one are filling the other. It could have been the moody cover to one of the albums Clarke thought he would release when he was pursuing his first love, music.

The long message below tells another story. “This was me 10 months ago,” it says. “Inside I was suffering from a pain so extreme that I could barely cope … I hated who I was and wanted to kill myself every time I came home from work … 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.” The...


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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".