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John Rodriguez, Founder, Empathic Security Cultures, LLC sat down with us to discuss this upcoming webinar in honor of Membership Appreciation Month. To learn more about this topic or to register for the webinar on 28 March visit here.

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Q: How did you become interested in mental health?  

A: Throughout my career I’ve been very interested in human interaction in the security profession and how connecting with others on a level more that professional interaction was critical to my success and my ability to contribute to the business. More than a professional level means interacting with others on an empathic level to learn about them at the level and amount the other person felt comfortable sharing about themselves. Achieving even a little sharing of the other person helped me relate to them better and increased the opportunity to gain their trust and support for the security function and culture. 

Over 40 years it was clear we are all the same in so many ways and how our lives impacted mental health - our own and the people we love and matter to us. However, the stigma barrier that so many deal with, and is a hinderance to self-care has been and continues to hold people back from embracing vulnerability and acceptance that mental health (or better yet, brain health) is the same and the health of any other organ or biological system we all have.  

A life change several years ago helped me bust my stigma barrier and now through my mental health journey have cared better for myself, my loved ones and others in their own journeys.  

Q: What advice would you give security professionals interested in mental health.   

A: Embracing all things related to mental health is not only good for yourselves but makes you a better person by offering empathy and compassion to everyone else. Being vulnerable will positively impact many others to do the same and also help others. Though mental health is not a core specialty of the security profession, learning all that you can and then partnering with HR, Benefits and Operations leaders will reveal a caring, helping person in you that other leaders will appreciate and include you in their leadership teams. 

Q: Why should security professionals have Mental Health on their radar? 

A: Mental health impacts psychological safety at work and that is related to a potential hostile work environment and workplace violence issues. Security culture success is built upon trust from all employees towards leadership and the security function.  

Mental health impact business success in terms of employee retention, talent attraction, work performance, absenteeism, presenteeism, cost of replacement, etc.  

The security professional that prioritizes learning and contributing to mental wellness at work will not only help people, but they will be more valued by the business leaders throughout their companies.