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Our workforce needs protecting from more than COVID-19

Statement from Abbey Petkar, Magenta Security Services

“It is easy to assume that the greatest risks to our security guard workforce are related to COVID-19 or perhaps the physical danger of confronting criminals. Both of which 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 our guards to support other security forces.

“However, there is currently another threat that is less spoken of, though just as difficult for many. Mental health issues affect us all- from the parents struggling to home school kids, the furloughed workers, the unemployed, the frontline key workers to the kids themselves, the majority of which haven’t seen their friends for three months.

“Statistically speaking the majority of the security workforce is male and sadly very few people realise that young to middle aged men are amongst the most vulnerable when it comes to suicide risks. We must all do what we can to protect our workforce – not just from the obvious but also the silent dangers.

“Magenta is working closely with our whole workforce to ensure ongoing mental health support for our team, their families and any of the communities we work with. A key part of that is sharing advice and thoughts we have compiled from highly respected sources and sharing them through a variety of channels. These include mental and physical health advice – part of which includes:

“Five tips for looking after your mental health during lockdown

1. Keep regular contact with friends and family. Social isolation is known to be detrimental to mental health and sense of identity. Schedule in video calls with the people you would usually see in person to help you lift your spirits and share your feelings. 2. Minimise engagement with the news if it is 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 what you cannot change. 3. Provide help to your loved ones, neighbours or community. Helping people can keep you busy, give you a sense of purpose and connect you to others. Check in on friends, host an online class or offer services to vulnerable people. 4. Maintain your schedule as much as possible. Without our usual cues, it is 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. 5. 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. Forgive yourself when you do not live up to your usual standards.”

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