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Thanks to initiatives such as World Mental Health Day, people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of mental health. We understand that poor mental health not only causes suffering for individuals, but also harms society at large. Just to give an example, statistics show depression and anxiety cost the global economy US $1 Trillion per year in lost productivity.

Unfortunately, unlike other professions, little attention has usually been given by researchers to mental health issues within the security industry. This is surprising considering guarding is one of the world’s fastest growing occupations coupled with the fact that statistically speaking, guarding is the world’s most stressful job.

What is alarming is that according to a recent study, not only is poor mental health common amongst security guards, but it is also strongly correlated to physical/verbal aggression, anger and hostility.

This study selected 300 guards who had no history of physical/mental health problems, substance abuse or criminal activity. The guards were working across various sectors including education, commercial, healthcare and financial institutions.

After conducting several tests on these guards, they found that approximately:

  • 47% suffered from significant antisocial tendencies
  • 36% had a Borderline personality disorder
  • 48% suffered from depression

The study picked up numerous notable trends, including the following:

  • There is a significant risk of guards with depression becoming physically aggressive
  • There is a very high risk of guards with antisocial tendencies becoming physically/verbally aggressive, angry and hostile
  • There is a very high risk of guards suffering from a borderline personality disorder becoming verbally aggressive, angry and hostile

Therefore, discussing mental health is especially important in the security industry because the very traits guards are being employed to protect people from, are the very traits which they themselves are highly vulnerable to. This is a very concerning reality that most people are unaware of.

Naturally then, security providers must strive to consistently educate themselves regarding the above matters, because they have an immense responsibility on their shoulders. If they don’t actively monitor and support the mental health of their guards, then not only are they jeopardising the well being of their staff, but they are also jeopardising the well being of all the people these guards service. It is paramount that campaigns such as World Mental Health Day are increasingly publicised and encouraged by everyone so that slowly, but surely, together we can overcome our challenges.

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