21 December 2022

Fortem urges first responders to look after their mental health during the holidays

As much of the country prepares for the Christmas holidays, first responders who will be keeping Australians safe into the new year are being urged to be mindful of their own mental health over the coming weeks.

It is a time of year that is often challenging for frontline workers and their families.

As others get ready to wind down, take holidays and switch off to be with their loved ones, first responders are often ‘business as usual’ with little holidays or time out from their daily norm. For some first responder agencies, the demands of the job can increase over summer.

Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows suicide rates increase across the country in December and January. We know that employees and volunteers in the first responder sector experience higher rates of psychological distress, diagnosed mental health conditions and suicidal thinking than the general adult population, as well as significantly higher rates of exposure to trauma.

Fortem Australia is reminding first responders across the country that support and resources are available to them and their families.

Fortem’s free, downloadable wellbeing resources can be used to learn more about looking after health and wellbeing.

Peak Fortem, our free Mental Fitness Online Toolkit, has a range of techniques to boost mental fitness and wellbeing presented in an easy-to-understand format, with video and audio options.

Our clinical services will be available to support first responders and families in the new year. If you need support over the holiday period, please contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you are looking for ways to support your colleagues, friends, or family generally over the summer, the R U OK? website has helpful resources.

Fortem Australia Managing Director and Co-Founder John Bale said it is vitally important first responders look after themselves during this time of year.

“We know that people can experience feelings of loneliness and isolation during the holidays, and this can be something heightened in the first responder community as their important work does not stop during this time of year,” said Mr. Bale.

Media contact: Simon Anderson, M – 0448 601 391 E – media@fortemaustralia.org.au