In her story for Security Magazine titled "Security teams navigate remote work challenges," Maria Henriquez dives into the challenges faced by security leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. One section of the article addresses mental fatigue suffered by frontline security officers:
As the pandemic persists, especially, frontline and other essential workers face particular risk of burnout and poor mental health outcome, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation June 2020 survey. High rates of burnout and adverse mental health impacts were reported among people working remotely during the pandemic too, as they face new stresses and additional responsibilities at home and a fading work-life balance.
"I like to take the first 30 minutes of the day and the last 30 minutes of the day to focus on the team. I check in with everyone to reassure them that we’re all on the same team. It’s a 'one team, one fight' to get everybody on board so no one is feeling isolated or unimportant,” (Bureau of Labor Statistics Chief Security Officer Richard) Amburgey notes. “If I get a sense that someone is starting to get burned out, then I will force them to take a Monday or a Friday off, so they can have a three-day weekend. It goes a long way in terms of helping rebalance work-life health.”
As security officers have been overlooked for much of the profession's existence, it's no surprise that mental health concerns for them would also be ignored. However, Amburgey's comments, along with a recent study conducted at the UK's University of Portsmouth may indicate a major shift:
New research shows that thousands of security guards in the UK are suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), having been exposed to frequent episodes of verbal and physical abuse.
Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have just released the results of the largest study to date of mental health amongst British private security operatives. They interviewed 750 workers and found that almost 40 per cent of them were showing symptoms of PTSD. Another key finding of the study shows a real lack of provision by security companies for employee mental health and wellbeing services.
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