What is HUGS@Home

What is this study about?

We know that first responders experience stress as part of their work, and often they prefer to seek support from colleagues, family, or close friends. This study is about understanding family members, close friends, and their first responders’ experience of stressful incidents and how they can begin a supportive conversation. Training will be practical, based on participants’ needs and preferences, using Psychological First Aid (PFA) techniques. Finally, this study aims to understand your perspectives and experiences before and after you engage in our training.

There are four phases:


Our co-design workshops capture the views of first responders’, family members or close friends, and organisational representatives, who share their opinions and perspectives in planning each phase of the project, where everyone’s voice is equal.


Our training begins with pre-course reading for the family member/friends, followed by on-site simulation-based education. We aim to prepare participants to:
1. recognise the signs and symptoms of stress reactions,
2. apply some basic techniques to manage a stress response, and
3. engage, support and empower their first responders, while being mindful of their own self care.


We will signpost our participants to further sources of support, specific to their preferences and needs. We also aim to facilitate Connect Cafes for participants to stay connected with each other upon completion of the training.


We are interested in understanding participants’ perspectives on the effectiveness of our training programme and our evaluation process involves one-to-one interviews, focus groups, and questionnaires with family members, first responders and organisational representatives.