First responders are people from the community who serve the community when chaos of one kind or another overpowers the daily sense of order and divinity-in-ordinary that we have all come to respect. First responders undertake specific training and build up skills so that they may save lives, recover those trapped in disasters of one kind or another, and help us repair our lives and remove the chaos. First responders are community heroes. June 9, 2021 is the Australian “Thank a First Responder Day”
Ordinary people, extraordinary spirit.
First responders. Ordinary people, just like us. They have families, commitments, homes to go to at the end of their working day. They’ve got dinner to make, shopping to do, bills to pay.
But unlike us they dedicate every day to helping save others.
Whether it’s the firefighters who battled the infernos that wrought havoc on our nation in 2020, the paramedics who respond every day to emergency situations, the marine rescue teams, police and lifesavers working to find missing persons in the water, or the SES men and women who leave their own families at home to ensure another family has a roof over their heads, we owe every one of them a huge debt of gratitude (as well as the families who support them through it all).
June 9, 2021 is Thank A First Responder Day, when we will ask you to join us in saying two simple words: Thank you.
Many participants and members of the Shepparton Interfaith Network are First Responders: They are chaplains and personal support in the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry. We thank them for their commitment and their talents in responding to disaster and attending Emergency Relief Centres in North East Victoria.
Receiving gratitude improves the lives of first responders – here’s how
Gratitude feels good and practising it regularly improves our mental fitness and wellbeing.
Just as importantly, being on the receiving end of that gratitude is good for us, too.
Both these reasons are behind Thank a First Responder Day, held on 9 June. This is our opportunity to thank the career staff and volunteers who put themselves at risk in order to keep all of us safe.
First responders do extraordinary jobs, saving lives and protecting our communities. However, they are normal people who can find it difficult to cope with the challenges they face in their work.
“The ‘hero’ label is often used in describing the work of first responders, but many first responders don’t sit comfortably with this label. Many are in their jobs due to a desire to help others,” explains Fortem psychologist Sharene Borsi.
However, they are indeed human. We know that more than half of all emergency responders are deeply impacted by the traumas they face in the course of their duties:
- The first responder community has higher rates of psychological distress, higher rates of diagnosis for mental health conditions, and higher rates of suicidal thinking and planning than the general adult population.
- First responders are more than twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts and to experience high psychological distress.
- The devastating Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic and recent flooding compounds people’s trauma exposure. It only takes a few minutes, but thanking the first responders in our community can make a huge difference to their day to day wellbeing
“The act of expressing our gratitude helps to boost a first responder’s sense of being surrounded by goodness, when all too often their lens sees the opposite,” Sharene says.
“Thank a First Responder Day is a sincere expression of gratitude not just for our own benefit, but also for the benefit for those who receive it.”
You can express thanks to our First Responders on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThankaFirstResponderDay
You can read more about Thank a First Responder Day here.
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