Spouse Support

I Just Married a Firefighter: What Should I Know?

Signs your first responder needs help and how to get it.  FireRescue1

How to help someone with PTSD

Information in this section has been provided by the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance.

As the spouse of a firefighter or other emergency responder, you may notice warning signs that indicate that your spouse may be suffering with a mental health issue. 

The top warning signs - In no particular order

  • Isolation (withdrawn from friends, family, or fellow crew members
  • Recklessness/impulsive behavior (radical, uncharacteristic behavior)
  • Anger towards family, friends, society, or even the department
  • Sleep deprivation (fatigue from calls - more than usual, not sleeping well on days off)

In meeting with spouses and partners of firefighters, their main concerns and the things they suggest watching for on a daily basis are:

  1. Anger - seeing their first responder act out in anger towards others
  2. Jealousy - jealous of success of others, jealous towards spouse because the spouse may not have to work while the firefighter is on shift
  3. Lack of trust - not trusting previously trusted family, close friends, etc.  Lack of trust towards spouse because of infidelity or the lack of communication of emotional issues
  4. Abandonment - the feeling of not being able to connect with another person again, or feeling alone
  5. Emotional disconnect from their loved ones

Helpletters, provided by the National Volunteer Fire Council are full of great information that is also good for spouses and family members.

A Guide for Family Members of Volunteer Firefighters - Specifically see pg. 16.