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Extending Your Support System

Topics: Family

 

 

 

Social support is important to health and wellbeing. When it comes to building a support system, there are different types of support. This could include emotional support (e.g., affection, understanding, comfort) or practical support (e.g., information/advice, financial aid, household help). Support can come from friends, family, neighbours, professional services, or community programs. It is often best to have a balance of these supports.

Do you want to know more about this?

Take a moment to consider the type of supports that you want or need. Also think about who is better at providing different types of support. For example, your sibling may be a good listener, friends may lend you their truck, and your family physician may provide reliable information.

The public safety organization that you are associated with may be an avenue for building supports connected to the PSP career. Support can vary depending on the organization. The following are things you could ask about:

  • Social events, which can help build a network of support between PSP families. This can be an opportunity to develop an informal communication network.
  • Private social media (e.g., Facebook) groups for family members.
  • Family friendly programs and resources (e.g., counselling for family members, books, education sessions, family orientations, visits to PSP workplace, off-site events).
  • A person within the organization who connects with families (e.g., deputy chief, psychological wellness facilitator, peer support team member, family liaison person, chaplain or spiritual care provider).
Map Your Support System

Think about all the people and organizations that support you and your family. Consider family and friends who you can count on for help, childcare providers, health care professionals (e.g., family doctor, psychologist), other professional services (e.g., mechanic, pet care), 24-hour emergency services, etc.. Review this example of a support system for a fictional PSP family (Aliyah and Wong).

Next, use the blank templates to fill in your connections and think about your system of support.  You can use the templates to identify supports for individual family members or the family as a whole.

DOWNLOAD: Family and Individual Support System Templates

 

Connecting with other PSP Families

PSP families may find that support from other PSP families is helpful. These families understand the demands of PSP work and the impacts on family life. Experienced PSP families can share their experiences with those who are beginning their careers or starting a new relationship. This can reduce stress and help families adapt to the newer PSP lifestyle.

Do you have other PSP families as a part of your support system? If you are interested in building or strengthening relationships with other PSP families, consider the following points below:

  • Brainstorm (on your own or with your partner) ways to strengthen current relationships with other PSP families and ways to develop new connections in the community and/or online.
  • Do some research and find out what opportunities are available. If there are few opportunities for your specific public safety sector, consider the broader community of PSP families. Is there something your PSP organization does to help families connect?
  • Consider all possibilities and start with one or two of your options and notice what difference this makes. Know that it can take time to build relationships and support – the most important thing is to start.

Below is an example of how you and your PSP partner can plan to connect and strengthen relationships with other PSP families.

 

Let’s make a game plan on how to connect with other PSP families by filling out the form with your PSP partner.

DOWNLOAD: Connecting With Other PSP Families

References for this page (click to expand)

Mancini, J., Bowen, G., & Martin, J. (2005). Community social organization: A conceptual linchpin in examining families in the context of communities. Family Relations, 54(5), 570-582. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-3729.2005.00342.x  

Walsh, F. (2003). Family resilience: A framework for clinical practice. Family Process, 42(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1545-5300.2003.00001.x 

Youngcourt, S. S., & Huffman, A. H. (2005). Family-friendly policies in the police: Implications for work-family conflict. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 1(2), 138-162. 

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