As the spouse or family member of a first responder, nearly every aspect of your life is affected by your loved one’s challenging career. Although there are many positive benefits to this lifestyle, it can also be very difficult. Long and sometimes unpredictable work hours often mean they miss out on family events, holidays and sleep. This typically means that spouses deal with many of the day-to-day responsibilities of life and family.
Additionally, you’re aware of the risks your loved one faces every time they put on the uniform, and you worry about their health and safety. You may also notice the impact the job has on your loved one’s mental health and how that has a ripple effect throughout your household.
These burdens can add up and become overwhelming, leaving you wondering how to support your loved one’s mental wellness while also taking care of yourself and keeping your family as happy and healthy as possible. Social support can help you manage the stress and worry, but support can be hard to find if your friends and extended family members don’t understand what you experience as a result of your loved one’s job.
Joining a support network for families of public safety professionals can be a great way to connect with others who also manage the unique challenges of the first responder lifestyle. If one isn’t available in your area, consider the benefits of starting a family support group. Confidentially sharing concerns, humor, frustrations and support from people who understand can help you cope with challenges. It also provides opportunity to support someone else who is struggling — which is empowering for them and for you.
The resources below offer helpful information you can use to improve the health and well-being of your family. They can also be shared with your fellow first responder families when they need support.
For helpful advice related to marriage, parenting, communication or supporting your first responder’s physical and mental health, check out these resources: