Looking out for your family or friend in search and rescue

When a loved one is in a difficult or dangerous field, like search and rescue, 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.

“I am fortunate to have a supportive family that understand the emergency service life. I kept in contact with friends and colleagues from around the world via Zoom.”

Mark Wright Paramedic, Bridlington Ambulance Station

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.

Supporting mental wellbeing, for search and rescue friends and family

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

  • 15 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

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: Search and rescue

Almost 9 in 10 search 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

I’m a family member or friend of a volunteer responder

If you’re a family member or friend of a volunteer responder, your role is essential. Without supportive people around them, the volunteer community wouldn’t exist.

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

Welcome to the team: what to expect when someone in your family volunteers with us

Families have a central and vital role in supporting mountain rescue teams – but there can be some adjustments required.

This booklet is full of information about what to expect, how you can help, and what support there is for you.

It’s marked as Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue Team, but the content is the same for all areas of Scotland.

  • 15 min read
  • Scotland
Scottish Mountain Rescue

Looking for more information, ideas and suggestions?