Support from colleagues, family and friends

The importance of social support

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Staying in touch during the COVID pandemic

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Your family and friends

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“Support from family, friends and colleagues keeps responders well”


The relationships we have with our colleagues, family and friends are central to our wellbeing. 

Social support is at the heart of wellbeing and is the most important factor in our ability to be resilient and bounce back when we encounter adversity in life. 

Having people who care about us, and who we can ask for help, is the thing that protects us most when we’re exposed to potentially traumatic experiences. It can make the difference between resilience and injury and is a key part of your Protective Armour.

If you want to support a colleague who’s having a difficult time, have a look at our suggestions on the I’m worried about someone else page.

The COVID Pandemic

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted our lives, at home and at work this past year and reinforced the importance of social connection. The lockdown has involved periods of separation from loved ones and colleagues as we work from home or physically distance at work. Looking out for each other is especially important right now. 

Do your best to maintain the routines and structures, both formal and informal, that work for you and your colleagues in normal times.
Protect time for team activities; formal meetings and informal coffee breaks, either in real life and virtually. If Wednesday was the day you all had a breakfast roll together, then try to still do this. 

Keep in touch with colleagues who are self -isolating or shielding to help them still feel part of the team and if you have new colleagues, take time to get to know them. 

Your family and friends

How much do you tell your family and friends about what happens at work? Do you try to keep things separate? Perhaps you don’t want to worry them or share disturbing information?

There’s no right or wrong here. How much you talk about work is about personal choice and the different relationships we have.

It’s not unusual for emergency service staff to be in relationships with other emergency responders and for generations of family members to work for the organisation. While this can bring benefits of them understanding the role, it may bring challenges too, like the practicalities of juggling shifts and caring responsibilities or needing to live up to expectations.

Whatever your relationship situation, we know that working for an emergency service can have an impact on your personal and social network and that’s why we’ve created some resources just for them, Information for family, friends and other supporters