Following the publication last year of an important report by the RAND corporation, detailing research into the mental health of security contractors, March on Stress is keen to continue its work to help the security industry in its ongoing efforts to develop good practice in terms of psychological resilience and the management of the risks posed by mental health issues, including but not exclusively, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The RAND report was published in December 2013 and concluded that levels of PTSD in security contractors are more than double that of the UK military and, in addition, that contractors working for organisations that have operational stress management policies in place and working 'do better' than those that don't.
The report recommended interventions including peer support programmes such as Trauma Risk Management (TRiM).
Speaking about the findings published in the report, March on Stress Director Professor Neil Greenberg said: “Prior to the research by RAND, the psychological health of this important occupational group has previously been under-researched given that they perform an important role in highly challenging conditions.
“Importantly, as the report states, the majority of security contractors have previously served their nations in the Armed Forces and thus the public should rightly be interested in their mental health. The results of the report showed clearly that those who work in the industry report more mental health problems than their military counterparts who are still serving in the Armed Forces.”
The research also showed that many contractors reported being poorly supported by the organisations who are making use of their services and – importantly - contractors who report receiving good support from their employers (in the form of specific trauma related training or mental health briefings) enjoy better mental health.
Professor Greenberg continued; “The results strongly suggested that security companies, and those who employ security companies, should do more to ensure that they mitigate the psychological risks associated with working in the industry.
“Now, a year on from the publication of the report, I would hope that organisations in the security industry are continuing to explore their own procedures and support processes in place for their contractors.
“I also welcome the suggestions in the original report for further research into this topic to ensure that improved support provision is effective.”
RAND is not the only body to have put mental health on the security agenda with its pivotal research last year. The International Code of Conduct for PMSCs also clearly includes psychological welfare and support provision amongst the ICoC standards.
At March on Stress, we already work with a number of security companies to help them develop and implement their operational stress policies and tactics. Contact us to find out how we can support your organisation firstname.lastname@example.org.To access the RAND report, please click here.
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