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“Security’s workforce needs protection from more than COVID-19” warns Magenta Security’s leader

09 June 2020

ABBEY PETKAR, managing director of Magenta Security Services, has warned that COVID-19 and the ongoing threat posed by criminals are only two of the key risks presently facing front line security operatives. The other, and which is equally important to address immediately, is the key issue of mental health.

Petkar has observed: “It’s easy to assume that the greatest risks posed to our security officer workforce at present are related to COVID-19 or perhaps the physical danger of confronting criminals. Both are possibly even more concerning in the wake of recent civil unrest, protests and riots, which have seen a decrease in social distancing and a greater need for officers to support other security forces. However, there’s currently another threat that’s less spoken of, though just as difficult for many. Mental health issues affect us all, from the parents struggling to home-school their children through to furloughed workers, the unemployed, the front line key workers and so many who haven’t seen their friends for months.”

He continued: “Statistically speaking, the majority of the security workforce is male and, sadly, very few people realise that young-to-middle aged men are among the most vulnerable when it comes to suicide risks. We must all do that we can to protect our workforce, not just from the obvious, but also from what might be called the silent dangers. At Magenta Security Services, we’re working closely with our whole workforce to ensure ongoing mental health support for our teams, their families and, indeed, any of the communities with whom we work. A key part of that is sharing advice and thoughts we’ve compiled from highly respected sources and sharing them through a variety of channels. These include mental and physical health advice.”

Petkar has offered five tips for security personnel to help them look after their mental health during the remainder of the lockdown period:

*Maintain regular contact with friends and family. Social isolation is known to be detrimental to mental health and the personal sense of identity. Schedule video calls with people you would usually see in person to help you lift your spirits and share your feelings

*Minimise engagement with the news if it’s making you feel anxious. Schedule set times to check for updates and take practical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones rather than worry about situations you cannot change

*Provide help to your loved ones, neighbours or wider members of the community. Helping people can keep you busy, afford you a sense of purpose and connect you to others. Check in on friends, host an online class or offer services to vulnerable individuals

*Maintain your schedule as much as possible. Without our usual cues, it’s easy to slip into bad habits such as sleeping late or skipping meals. Set (and stick to) times for sleeping, eating, working, exercise and leisure

*Be kind to yourself and accept failings. This is a difficult time for everyone and you should not expect yourself to be as happy and productive as you normally would. Remember to forgive yourself when you don’t live up to your usual standards.