About Fortem Australia

First responders protect and care for our communities. The work they do is vitally important.  It is also often confronting, traumatic, and dangerous.

Fortem Australia was established in mid-2019 to fill a need for first responders and their families.  The devastating Black Summer bushfires in 2019-2020, and the associated trauma endured by first responder families, further intensified the need for urgent mental health and wellbeing support for these members of our community.  We are a national not-for-profit organisation with a community approach. 

We operate with focus on family.  Family members are dealing with things like shift work, lone parenting, worry about their loved one at work, not to mention the impact of the first responder’s stress or trauma. All these things can take a toll on the family unit.  We exist to connect first responder families to create stronger bonds and healthier support networks.

Five responders and their stories

Craig Harrison

At the end of a bushfire season, Craig Harrison and his fellow volunteers in the ACT Rural Fire Service usually get together.

Emma Shawyer

Fortem is giving Emma Shawyer the opportunity to set a goal she can work towards, while staying active.

Susan Forte

Susan Forte has always been a runner. It is something she has done since her early days of primary school.

Vanessa Parry-Williams

For many members of Team Fortem, running has been a part of their lives since they were young, NSW Police Officer Vanessa Parry-Williams is different, taking up running a bit late in life.

Dan Wicks

When the opportunity arose for First Responders to run the New York Marathon with Team Fortem, Queensland Police Officer Dan Wicks knew he wanted to be part of it.