March 2019 / News

Trauma Risk Management: Supporting Our Personnel

Claire Green

Hart Regional Director for Europe

What can organisations do to assist staff involved in, or likely to be involved in, traumatic deployments? At Hart, we have invested in TRiM (Trauma Risk Management) and developed a policy that sets out our commitment from the top of the organisation. 

Hart support their personnel with Trauma Risk Management Course (TRiM)

Charlene Gebhardt, Regional Hr Manager, and Gordon Hughes, Regional Training Manager, attended a TRiM Practitioner training course delivered by March on Stress in London.

Support for veterans experiencing mental health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is finally being talked about, and it’s clear there is much work still to be done in this area.

However, the armed forces represent just a portion of the workforce deployed overseas in challenging and often dangerous environments.  Among these are media, private security contractors, charities and employees of international companies involved in construction and peacebuilding projects.  At the height of the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, contractors outnumbered US troops on the ground.

While not involved in offensive combat operations, workers can still experience and be exposed to traumatic events such as bombs, human suffering and the stress that accumulates from living in environments where an attack could occur at any moment.

Private security operators and support staff are particularly at risk of exposure to traumatic events.

So, what can organisations do to assist staff involved in, or likely to be involved in, traumatic deployments?  One answer comes from an organisation called March on Stress who specialise in delivering Trauma Risk Management (TRiM) training courses for practitioners and managers. Here at Hart, we take the mental well-being of our personnel seriously.

“We are contracted to protect the assets, including staff, of governments, NGOs and private corporations in some of the most dangerous places on earth.”

Exposure to stressful and traumatic circumstances is an accepted ‘par for the course’ in our line of work.  Nevertheless, we recognise we have a legal and moral duty of care to our people.  That’s why we have invested in TRiM and developed a policy that sets out our commitment from the top of the organisation.

Charlene Gebhardt, Regional HR Manager, and Gordon Hughes, Regional Training Manager, attended a TRiM Practitioner training course delivered by March on Stress in London, February 2019.

“By carrying out TRiM assessments, Charlene and Gordon can spot signs of distress in others that may otherwise go unnoticed.  They can distinguish between normal strong reactions and the kinds of reaction to trauma which may need referral to a medical expert or other additional support.”

TRiM originated in the UK Armed Forces based on a model of ‘watchful waiting’ and is consistent with the official advice given by the National Institute of Heath and Care Excellence (NICE).

While a moral duty of care to one’s personnel is reason enough to invest in trauma risk management, there are other benefits to Hart for adopting this approach.

The economic benefits are obvious – good mental health practices help reduce sickness and churn.  We want to retain our contractors.  Not only is it expensive and timely to recruit personnel, it’s also important to us to maintain familiarity of personnel with our clients.  High staff turnover affects client satisfaction.

We often live alongside our clients and partners and spend much of our days around them.  Having a resilient security team around them acts much like a blanket.  We are in this together and succeed by working in partnership and looking out for each other.

“Our people are our most important asset” is a statement most companies would agree with.  At Hart we continually look for ways to embody this statement through training, support and kindness.