Support from colleagues, family and friends

The importance of social support

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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.

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. What is important, is that you stay connected to your family and friends, because these relationships are at the heart of what keeps you well. Try to find a way to let them know if you’re having a difficult time, without sharing the detail, because they will almost certainly be able to tell that something is wrong.
It’s not unusual for people to be in relationships with others who work or volunteer for the emergency service or trauma-exposed roles (e.g. prison or military), or for generations of family members to work for the same 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 what you do can have an impact on your personal and social network and that’s why we’ve created some resources for family, friends and other supporters.

Your service, your Lifelines

Visit the web pages of Lifelines Scotland Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, Police or Volunteer Responders for extra resources tailored to each service and more information about the specific help available from different organisations.