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Regional Australians encouraged to get involved in Thank a First Responder Day – June 9.

Australia’s 300,000 first responders play a critical role in their communities – especially in regional towns and villages

This year Fortem Australia is urging people in communities small and big across Australia to help first responders feel appreciated by getting involved in Thank a First Responder Day on June 9.  

Australians are asked to post messages of thanks on their social media channels using the hashtags #ThankAFirstResponder and #PowerOfThanks, or to host an event in their community.  

Visit http://www.firstresponderday.com.au to discover a range of free resources and ideas.  

The community support will complement a range of activities being held for first responders and their families by Fortem Australia, in locations across the country, including Gold Coast, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Bega, Warragul, Wollongong, Queanbeyan, Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne.  

Fortem will host local activities including magic shows, yoga sessions, free morning and afternoon tea, bush walks, paint your partner classes and more for first responders and their families. 

On the night of June 9, monuments around the country will turn teal as a further show of gratitude for first responders. Regional light up locations include, Coffs Harbour – Big Banana, Newcastle – Clock Tower, Wodonga – The Cube, and at Goulburn – the Big Merino. 

Fortem co-founder and Managing Director John Bale, says 2021 has been a big year for first responders. 

“Our first responders have never been under more pressure, with bushfires, floods and the pandemic requiring acts of bravery and resilience beyond what most people could comprehend,” Mr Bale said.  

Recent studies show that the cumulative effects of repeated traumatic and dangerous situations by police, paramedics, firefighters, emergency service teams put them at far greater risk of psychological distress and mental health conditions than those in other professions1 

Fortem psychologist and General Manager of Service Delivery Jae Lee says initiatives such as Thank a First Responder Day help boost the resilience and wellbeing of emergency service workers by making them feel valued and connected with society. 

“Feeling appreciated is incredibly important to our wellbeing – saying thank you to our first responders is about fostering a sense of ‘We’re all in this together’,” says Ms Lee.  

The rapid pace of their high-pressure roles, compounded by privacy laws and legal processes also means they often never find out what happens to people they’ve helped through terrifying or life-threatening situations. 

“It’s rare for first responders to meet the people whose lives they’ve saved, after the event. Sometimes they might get a thank you letter, but not always,” says Mr Bale.  

“First responders would be the last people to brag about the work they do, but they benefit enormously from knowing the public supports and values them – that’s why we’re asking all Australians to say thank you on June 9.” 

Visit www.firstresponderday.com.au to find out how you can show your appreciation to Australia’s first responders on Wednesday, June 9. 

Mental health resources for first responders and their families can be found in the Fortem Resource Library.

To make an appointment with one of Fortem’s psychologists, call 1300 33 95 94.

Fortem activities, events and community engagements are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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