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Mental Health in Security

Mental Health in Security

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Mental health is a buzzword in the UK these days. There is far less stigma attached, and we now appreciate that mental health is as important as physical health. Poor mental health happens to most of us as life throws us various challenges and affects our quality of life and well-being. However, mental health can frequently be ignored or misunderstood in the workplace. 

Security industry workers, according to recent reports, have a high level of mental health issues. According to a report published by the University of Portsmouth, more than 40% of security guards had PTSD symptoms. Many security workers also displayed other forms of poor mental health, including stress and depression. This is attributed to the frontline nature of the job. Many incidents can occur, such as verbal and physical abuse, poor working conditions, and low pay can also add to compromised mental health. 

This guide will look at the importance of good mental health. We also look at how the security sector is impacted and the way that security bosses can help support their employees to prevent these issues from occurring and supporting staff that are suffering from mental health issues. 

CREATE A POSITIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT:

There is a significant correlation between a negative work environment and poor mental health. By promoting a positive work environment, you will have happier and more productive staff and can reduce poor attendance. Incorporating career growth and development and introducing reward schemes that recognise your team can help motivate staff. 

You can improve overall mental health by encouraging your staff to communicate freely about issues they might have, as well as giving constructive and fair feedback. By allowing more flexible work schedules, you can enable staff to have a better work-life balance, boosting positive mental health.  

Here are some examples of positive workplace practices you can implement:

  • Encouraging managers to check in with employees regularly to see how they are doing and provide feedback
  • Celebrating employee achievements and milestones, both personally and professionally
  • Establishing a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying and harassment
  • Offering opportunities for employee training and development to help employees build new skills and advance their careers
  • Encouraging team-building activities, such as lunchtime walks, after-work social events, or volunteer opportunities that allow employees to connect and build relationships with colleagues

Here are some resources that can help you boost the mental health of your security staff:

  • The Center for Workplace Mental Health is an excellent resource. All their webinars and training programmes are entirely free for both employers and employees. 
  • Mental Health America is also a place where you can find tools and resources to help you create a workplace that boosts mental health. 

PROVIDE MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT:

Sometimes it may be necessary to seek professional help. This could be a benefit if a staff member has experienced a particularly stressful situation or is suffering from personal issues such as bereavement or divorce, for example. You can help staff that are suffering from poor mental health by allowing them to be open about difficulties they are facing and providing access to services such as counselling services and employee assistance programmes known as EAPs. 

Examples of support services include:

  • Offering EAPs that can help your staff thorough difficult periods with confidential counselling and other support services
  • If your company is large enough, you could allow staff easier and faster access to mental health professionals, such as psychologists or therapists, that can be quicker than going through the NHS, which is severely strained following the COVID crisis
  • Sometimes a friendly, caring ear does not need to be a professional one. Many people, once they have gone through a mental health crisis of their own, can provide excellent empathic support to others. If possible, try to create a peer support programme which can offer much-needed support and guidance
  • Often people can use self-care strategies, which are the key to battling poor mental health. Techniques that do work include mindfulness, exercise, and relaxation techniques. Be sure to promote these measures on noticeboards and internal emails

Some resources that can help include:

EDUCATE STAFF ON MENTAL HEALTH:

Princes William, Harry, and Princess Kate have done a great deal of work to help reduce mental health stigma. Harry and William were very open about coming to terms with the loss of their mother, Princess Diana. Mental health difficulties are now far more accepted in today’s society. You can further educate your employees so that your company has a culture of understanding and support. 

Mental health education programs include:

  • There are several mental health courses and sessions designed for employees where they can learn about common mental health conditions and how to offer support
  • You can create a mental health policy for your business that shows your staff you are committed to supporting and boosting mental health in the workplace
  • Update your notice boards with information about mental health resources. These include phone lines such as the Samaritans. First response is an NHS programme that is available everywhere in the UK. Make sure that phone lines and support groups specific to your geographic location are readily available to your team members so they can access them if they are in crisis

Here are some valuable resources to help you educate staff on mental health issues:

PROMOTE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY:

While security work is often a physical job, there are still benefits to other forms of exercise. It’s a proven fact that exercise can help combat stress, anxiety and depression, as well as boosting physical health. 

Here are some ideas for employers to promote physical activity:

  • Offering free or subsidised gym memberships. Or if your company is large enough, on-site exercise facilities are a great boost to morale and mental health
  • Allowing staff to take breaks where they can fit in an exercise class, a walk or a stretch can help decrease stress
  • Why not promote virtually free sporting activities such as a five-a-side game of footie or a running club? A fitness instructor to run a Zumba or yoga class for an hour or two does not cost a great deal, especially if plenty of your staff attend 
  • You can even offer financial incentives for employees who boost their mental and physical health by participating in regular physical activity

Here are some resources that can help you promote physical activities in the workplace:

FOSTER A SENSE OF COMMUNITY:

A sense of community can be lacking in many people and is an essential aspect of positive mental health. Many people suffer from poor mental health due to loneliness and isolation. As a workplace, you can encourage staff to connect with each other and provide much-needed social support networks. 

Here are some ideas of ways you can foster a sense of community in the workplace:

  • Social events are a great way to help your team bond. Consider arranging activities such as after-work happy hours or complimentary staff lunches
  • Is there a volunteer project in the community that your staff could help with? It might be restoring a community area or supporting local charitable organisations 
  • How about spending a little time updating your notice board where staff with shared interests can get together? It might be a game of football or a dog walk.

If you need further advice, check out these resources:

In conclusion, by supporting security staff with their mental health, you can benefit both your staff and your business. There are several ways to do this, which include:

  • A positive work environment
  • Providing mental health support if needed
  • Educating employees about mental health
  • Encouraging physical activities
  • Fostering a sense of community

Get Licensed also offers a short online course about mental health which can aid your staff to better understand and boost mental health. 

Start your career now with our courses! Click here to begin.

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