No Help for Mental Health in Zero
I came into work in the safety industry after many years in various professions including Community Services, not-for-profit services, Social Work, Education, Youth Services, Youth Detention, Pastoral Counselling, EAP and Corrections. In all of these professional service cultures a core value is tolerance. You never know who will walk through the door needing to be loved, accepted, ‘met’ and helped. Anyone with experience in these services knows through formal and experiential education that Fortuna smiles differently on people and that ‘there but for the grace of god go i’.
People who work in Human Services know that judgementalism, intolerance and being objects-focused simply alienates people and blocks any hope of helping and support. Moreso, any language of intolerance or brutalism simply teaches people that you are unapproachable and non-empathic. Blaming is toxicity for any approach in human services and one can only get blaming from such typical nonsense safety talk such as ‘all incidents are preventable’. In the logic of such nonsense discourse then, mental health must be preventable??? This of course must mean that ‘mental health is a choice you make’!
One can’t expect to preach the ideology of zero and absolute intolerance and then expect people to seek understanding, helping and acceptance from the same source. Signing on to the ideology of zero and priming a population with zero can only drive a divide between those who need help and those who think they have some capacity to help (with no training in the area). Zero ideology and zero priming are now the standard set by the World Congress on Safety 2017 and all those who signed on to it, including the SIA.
Zero ideology and concern for mental health don’t mix. You don’t seek support from deniers of fallibility and vulnerability.
If safety were a profession it should seek to align itself not with science, zero or regulation but with helping. Unfortunately, you won’t hear safety being identified as a helping activity (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-as-a-helping-profession/ ). Nor will you find the kind of training needed to professionally ‘help’ in a safety qualification. In many ways, the culture of Safety ‘primes’ anti-helping (https://safetyrisk.net/safety-culture-does-exist/) and fosters alienation from the very people who need the most help.
This is why Safety finds the ideology of zero so attractive. Once Safety ‘frames’ and ‘primes’ the discourse of living through a number and defines safety by counting, the opportunity to help anyone is lost.