Looking out for your family or friend in the fire service

When a loved one is in a difficult or dangerous field, like the fire 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.

“Without my friends and family (and the TV!) I would have found things a lot harder. They have encouraged me to keep going”

Rebecca Dingvean Assistant Operations Manager, London Fire Brigade

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.

Support for you is important too. The Fire Fighters Charity has a special family hub designed for those close to fire service personnel. This includes activities you can enjoy together, support for carers and tips on social wellbeing.

The Fire Fighters Charity Family Hub

Are you the spouse, parent or dependent of a firefighter? The Fire Fighters Charity has created a hub for you, featuring resources, a support phone line, and links to further information. It’s ideal for anyone whose close friend or loved one works for the fire service.

  • 10 min read
  • UK-wide

Supporting mental wellbeing, for fire and rescue friends and family

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

  • 15 min read
  • UK-wide

I’m a family member or friend: fire

If you have a friend or family member in the fire 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
R U OK

How to manage stress and anxiety: Fire and rescue

85% of fire and rescue staff and volunteers have experienced stress and poor mental health. This booklet has practical tips and suggestions to help.

  • 15 min read
  • 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

Looking for more information, ideas and suggestions?