Although I had a lot of good friends in the family I cannot say that I think it was really a supportive atmosphere in any way.
People were nice but everybody was so busy just trying to survive with all the physical, psyshological, and spiritual stress, (at least during the different "chain" periods) that no one could do very much except sympathize.
Very little real help could ever be expected. On the contrary there was often someone trying to rob, abuse or oppress you in some way or another.
A real family is (generally) much more supportive. Although I know that is not always the case.