Having the support of your family is an important part of your health and wellbeing. Good family relationships make us feel safe, loved and supported, and help us feel that we belong.
But family doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone.
The people you consider your family members might be part of your extended family. They might not be biologically related. They might be the people you’ve chosen to make your family. Or they might be a traditional family unit, or a unit that’s wonderfully different, or a family that does or doesn’t include children. They’re the people with whom you feel a kinship.
There are lots of variations to what a family can look like, and all of them are an important part of living a healthy life.
One of the critical things that families do is to notice when someone they’re close to is going through a challenging time. It’s the people closest to us who can see when we’re not behaving like our usual selves, and they’re the ones who know when we’re dealing with a loss, illness or other stressors.
And it’s our families that provide us with support during those tough times. It’s the people we love and feel close to who can listen, help us to find more support, and take care of us.
This is vital within the first responder community. First responders who feel supported report having lower levels of suicidal thoughts, and are less likely to experience psychological distress and PTSD.
The families of first responders are heavily impacted, too, by the trauma and distress that first responders experience.
Everyone in a first responder family – no matter who that family is made up of – needs the support of each other, as well as access to external support.
Fortem is here to support first responder families, and we value family support networks in all their diversity. We encourage you to reach out to us for support, to join a wellbeing activity, and to build your mental fitness.
Find more information about Who We Support here.