Like many industries that are frontline and public facing, security employees are increasingly feeling the pressures of their job and dealing with heightened levels of anxiety. Long working hours, lack of support from employers, and physical and emotional stress associated with the job are all contributing factors to a worrying number of security professionals experiencing issues with their mental health. From depression to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the security industry is facing a growing mental health crisis. But it isn’t just security personnel who are affected. Family and friends of those in the security profession, as well as employers and other members of staff, can also be impacted by these issues.
Anxiety and Mental health in Employees
Many mental health issues are becoming increasingly common among security employees. In fact, recent reports have shown that the rate of depression and anxiety among security workers is higher than in other professions. This worrying trend is leading to a range of negative effects on both personal and professional life, including physical and emotional stress, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and more.
What are the causes of these issues? Long working hours, lack of support from employers, and the physical and emotional stress associated with the job can all be major contributing factors. For many security personnel, their job means being constantly on guard and in a heightened state of alertness – something that can take its toll over time. In addition, many security workers are often in dangerous or isolated environments, which can add to the feeling of anxiety and stress.
Potential Causes of Concerns with Security Employees Mental Health
There are many potential causes for anxiety and mental health issues among security personnel, including long working hours, lack of employer support, and the physical and emotional stress associated with the job. In addition, many security workers may be in dangerous or isolated environments, which can add to feelings of fear and anxiety.
Long working hours
The security industry demands many to work long hours, which can lead to exhaustion and fatigue. This can have a significant impact on mental wellbeing and can further increase anxiety levels, working until early in the morning protecting those that are having a good time takes its toll on many security employees mental health. The long work hours can also leave little time for relaxation and socialising, leading to burnout and feelings of isolation.
Lack of employer support
The security industry is a demanding field, with many employees working long hours and often in dangerous or isolated environments. This can lead to fatigue, exhaustion, burnout, and feelings of isolation – all of which can further increase anxiety levels.
Additionally, 61% of security employees cite a lack of care and consideration from their employers as a major factor contributing to their mental health issues. The continual race to the bottom, with companies prioritising short-term profit margins over staff safety and wellbeing, is another common complaint among security personnel.
Dangerous or isolated environments
Many people in the industry often discuss the issue of one-man doors. If a door supervisor is faced with a fight involving more than two people, they are at a disadvantage and may not have any support.
Physical and emotional stress
The abuse and physical aggression that security personnel are subjected to on a regular basis can cause high levels of physical and emotional stress. This can lead to feelings of isolation, fear, anxiety, burnout, and exhaustion – all of which can have a serious impact on mental health.
Violence in the Security Industry
The security industry is facing increasing levels of violence and aggression, with a recent survey revealing that 36% of frontline security staff are physically attacked monthly, 36% have to use physical force on a weekly basis, 51% are verbally abused each time they work, and 65% of respondents were resigned to the fact that violence within the security industry was inevitable.
This level of stress can have a serious impact on mental health, leading to anxiety and other issues. Long working hours, lack of support from employers, the physical and emotional stress associated with the job, as well as violence in the industry, are all potential causes of this issue.
PTSD in Security Employees
As a result of this violence, many security personnel within the same study reported high levels of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with 57% saying that an incident has affected their mental state more than 24 hours after the event and 48% saying that they have had a flashback or nightmare about a specific incident.
How to Address Security Employees Mental Health Concerns
How can we combat these issues? Firstly, self-care strategies such as regular exercise and healthy eating habits can help to reduce stress levels. Additionally, having a good support system of family and friends is invaluable for reducing feelings of anxiety. Finally, it’s important to seek professional help if needed – whether through counseling or therapy – to help identify and manage any feelings of anxiety or stress.
What steps can the security industry take? Employers should provide mental health support to their staff, such as access to qualified professionals, as well as creating a culture of openness and acceptance that encourages staff members to talk about their issues.
Additionally, employers can ensure that workers have regular breaks and access to adequate rest and relaxation. Finally, employers should recognize the value of mental health awareness training for their personnel – something that can help security workers better understand and identify signs of anxiety or stress in themselves and others.
Mental health issues are on the rise in the security industry, but with proper support and care, these issues can be addressed and managed with techniques that offer employees mental health support. Hopefully, by raising awareness and taking steps to reduce anxiety levels in the industry, we can make a positive difference for those that work in the security sector.
And remember, the next time you are out in a bar, pub or in a shop, be kind to those that are working to keep you protected. Behind their uniform, is an individual who may be feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, and that a smile and a friendly chat can make all the difference in helping them to get through the day.
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