The other day Angela wrote me to ask about some of the issues that contractors are having to deal with in the war and at home. Stuff that get’s us into trouble on the job or with our personal lives. It’s a good list, and a good start. I am sure there are other issues we could talk about and hopefully this will get the mental juices flowing out there. A big thanks to Angela for putting this together.
I also forgot to give her one more area that really messes with guys, and that is the money issue. Sometimes people get into contracting against their wishes, all because they are desperate. You have scenarios where guys are extremely burned out on anything to do with the war or the military, but they have a family they need to feed and jobs are scarce at home. So they begrudgingly get into contracting, and introduce this bitterness to the work place. They might not have any respect at all for contracting and the very basic guard duty jobs they are doing, and this attitude gets them in trouble with their co-workers and management.
The other reason why I like posting this stuff is that this gives those out there that are suffering, more tools and ideas on how to cope. Angela is the only one out there that has reached out to this community with a helping hand, and I think she is an awesome person for doing so. As a result, I send folks her way all the time.
I also get the hard emails now and then, and all I can do is listen and try to channel them to persons and places that can help. I definitely do not want to see another Danny Fitzsimons scenario where a contractor is suffering and yet they keep going after jobs to stay employed. But these are the guys that are walking time bombs in the contractor workplace. We need to find these contractors and help them before they hurt themselves or others.
Which by the way, and I mentioned this to Angela, I do not know what the suicide statistics are for contractors. I imagine there have been quite a few suicides, just because many contractors already come from a past filled with trauma–either as a cop or veteran of a war. But there are no studies at all about this area of contracting. If I were to speculate, the rates of suicide would be similar to that of the military or police. But this is just speculation….
I am also interested in all and anything that will help to create mental resiliency for war zone work. Because we all deal with some kind of personal demon or issue which can have an impact on our work, health, or relationships, and it is important to create a personal battle plan on how to work through those issues. You need to be constantly learning about yourself and continuously improving upon what makes you strong and resilient mentally. The pay off is the ability to work in this industry for the long term and still maintain a life at home. The other pay off is that your mental state will not interfere with your job, and your decision making process will be enhanced and focused on winning the fight. -Matt
Security Issues – A Top Five.
By Angela Benedict
August 30, 2011
Five of the most debilitating issues in security disciplines are; addictions, relationships, PTSD, physical pain and suicide. Addictions are tied to relationship problems. Alcohol and women get many personnel into serious, life-altering trouble. Alcohol is especially problematic as it has such an engrained historical place and therefore acceptance within military settings. It is a cultural norm. The devastating effects of its status are seen as unfortunate, but not serious enough to curtail the place it holds in the culture. If this happened, the positive ripple effect would be immense.