What are you doing to take care of yourself? If you work closely with others, are you finding ways to show that you care about them, too?
Some experts say mental health issues and the pandemic may help explain how we wound up with two U.S. workplace shootings in as many months, the most recent taking place last week in San Jose. Like most people, I was shocked and saddened by the incident as well as the high number of mass shootings since the beginning of the year. And the tragic number continued to rise over the weekend when there was another deadly, mass shooting in Miami.
I couldn’t help but wonder if there are ways we can all take better care of ourselves, and our coworkers?
There were reports that the San Jose shooter hated his workplace, had a disciplinary meeting scheduled for that day, and had other problems. These reports filled my mind with many questions: Did this man feel supported enough to get help dealing with his anger? Did his coworkers recognize signs of his problems? If so, was there a way they could support him built into the employment system? Would an active shooter plan have made a difference the morning of the attack? Should we all be more aware of how to behave in active shooter situations as we get back into workplaces and public spaces that may attract someone with a problem and a gun?
How do you feel about your job? If you’re not happy, are you letting that feeling affect how you perform? Do you work with someone who hates the workplace, or is feeling emotional or financial pressures? Are those types of pressures affecting you? Do you know how to get help, or help someone else, in your workplace setting?
Reach out for help. It can be for professional mental health support, or guidance available from your human resources department. Take some time off. This is especially important if you are a private security professional who often spends long periods of time working alone, having to be the “bad guy” in a variety of settings. I offer the same advice to law enforcement, social services, and other professionals who tend to see a lot of people on their worst day.
Throughout Rent-A-Cop Reboot I remind security professionals about the benefits of sleep, good meals, exercise, and even wearing the right clothes. I also want you to know that it is OK to reach out for mental health support. It is not a sign of weakness. Only the strongest people have what it takes to take on their toughest opponent: themselves.