Looking out for your family or friend in the police force

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

“What has helped me through this time is recognising that I have a tendency to withdraw when I feel stressed or anxious. The important thing that helps me is reaching out to my family and best friend and just telling them how I am feeling.”

Mairead Clabby Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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.

It’s also 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. Police Care UK is a specialist charity designed for serving and veteran police officers and staff, volunteers, and their families who have suffered any physical or psychological harm as a result of policing. They can offer help and advice, and point you to other sources of support.

Police Care UK

Police Care UK is the charity for serving and veteran police officers and staff, volunteers and their families who have suffered any physical or psychological harm as a result of policing. They offer practical, emotional and financial support. You can call them on 0300 012 0030.

  • 2 min read
  • UK-wide

Supporting mental wellbeing, for police friends and family

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

  • 15 min read
  • UK-wide

Supporting loved ones after a major incident

If a friend or family member is in the police, it can be difficult to know how best to support them after they’ve been through a major or traumatic incident.

This short guide takes less than two minutes to read, but will give you some pointers for how to be supportive when somebody close to you is going through this.

  • 2 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

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: Police

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

  • 15 min read
  • UK-wide

I’m a family member or friend: police

If you have a friend or family member in the police, 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

Looking for more information, ideas and suggestions?