Looking out for your family or friend in the ambulance service

When a loved one is in a difficult or dangerous field, like the ambulance service can be, it’s natural to sometimes feel worried for them. You might be able to see how the stress of their role affects their daily life, or you might be concerned they are keeping their feelings ‘bottled up’. And if what they do sometimes brings them into contact with danger, that’s a worry for you too.

However, as a friend or a member of their family, there are ways you can help. Understanding a bit about their situation, and being familiar with some tips that might be useful for them, can go a long way. Take a few minutes to have a look through the Mind booklet on stress and anxiety for an insight.

Then, it’s important to have the confidence to ask how they are – and be prepared for the conversation that might follow. R U OK has created some sample conversations you can use to help your loved one to open up about their experiences, and offers links to further support if you need it.

And support for you is important too. The Ambulance Service Charity offers support for close family members of those who have worked for an ambulance service for at least 12 months, have volunteered for at least three years or are in the second year of a Paramedic Science degree. Their service includes advice on financial wellbeing and rehabilitation support.

The Ambulance Staff Charity

The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC) provides services to support the mental health, physical rehabilitation, and financial wellbeing of the UK’s ambulance staff, their family members, students, and ambulance service volunteers. You can call their wellbeing team on 02477 987 922, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

  • UK-wide

Supporting mental wellbeing, for ambulance friends and family

This booklet explains what can affect someone’s mental wellbeing, and shows how friends and family of ambulance personnel can help them stay mentally well.

  • 15 min read
  • UK-wide

I’m a family member or friend: ambulance

If you have a friend or family member in the ambulance service, your role is essential. Your support is what keeps responders well.

This page from Lifelines Scotland is filled with advice and information on what life is like for them, how you can help, and – really importantly – how to make sure you’re OK yourself.

  • 10 min read
  • Scotland

R U OK?’s roleplay conversations

Are you worried about a colleague, but you’re not sure how to bring it up with them? R U OK have created these sample roleplay conversations to help you build your confidence in talking about mental health in a sensitive, effective way.

  • UK-wide

Post-traumatic stress disorder: how can friends and family help?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health problem you may develop after traumatic events. You’re not alone. These pages explain causes, symptoms and self-care tips.

  • 10 min read
  • UK-wide

How to manage stress and anxiety: Ambulance

91% of ambulance staff and volunteers have experienced stress and poor mental health. This booklet has practical tips and suggestions to help.

  • 15 min read
  • UK-wide

Looking for more tips, ideas and suggestions?