Our programs are underpinned by 5 Ways To Wellbeing: a set of practical lifestyle habits to help us be mentally fit.

The 5 Ways To Wellbeing are integrated into all our activities, events and programs, so that first responder families discover the benefits of incorporating simple lifestyle changes to their days.

This evidence-based model is an effective strategy to improve mental health and wellbeing, based on substantial research.

Fortem Australia is an official partner of The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s 5 Ways To Wellbeing.


Connection is at the core of Fortem Australia’s values. We connect families together to strengthen family bonds and resilience, and provide connection with other first responder families in a range of in-person and virtual programs.

Studies show that connection is an important part of the path to mental fitness, and can take a protective role in maintaining wellbeing in the face of repeated exposure to severe stressors.


Many of our activities incorporate an active element. This is an effective way of helping first responder families build resilience and wellbeing.

Physical health plays a major role in mental fitness. Regular exercise helps us cope with stress, gives us more energy and confidence, improves the quality of sleep, and detracts from negative thoughts.


We provide many opportunities to learn. From in-person and virtual classes to forums that educate the wider community about the experiences of first responder families, learning new things boosts self-confidence and provides a sense of purpose.

You learn something new every day, as they say – but they forget to add how good that is for us all. For first responder families, the opportunity to share a new experience with their family or other first responder families is also a way to build connections.


Fortem provides regular mindfulness sessions, and we also utilise mindfulness within other activities and programs. When a participant is standing up for the first time in a surfing lesson, for example, their mind is completely in that moment – this blocks out worries, and reduces stress.

Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment, and it has a range of benefits in building mental fitness. These include greater self-awareness, building resilience, and helping to seek help when needed.


First responders are known for the ways in which they help others. We encourage acts of kindness as well as self-care to help build connections with others, and build confidence and the ability to cope with challenges.