First Responders and Mental Health Part 2: Station house chatter

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By a Former Responder

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Written by Marie B, Former First Responder

 So I know when you're sitting around at your station house, you get to talking. Most of the time we telling lies to make us look good, brag about “conquest” and families. So your partner starts talking about things going on at home. Their significant other (SO) is getting on their nerves. You are listening, maybe completely or just passively. You start trading stories about your life with them. Next thing you know, y’all are giving advice. Now we both know, that giving advice based on what we “know” is NOT a good idea.

 According to, divorce rate averages between 60 to 70% for first responders! Wow! The national rate is only 50%. Y’ALL! That is crazy! Now, there are many factors to this such as stress of the job, etc. I personally have witnessed relationships fall apart for many reasons such as cheating.

 That being said, I really don’t think it is a good idea for any of us to give out relationship advice. We mean well. We have good intentions. But there is a saying somewhere about good intentions and a road and hell. I don’t know, but the point is, that we need to be careful of what we are advising. Real people get hurt. Our jobs are to keep people from getting hurt or to fix the hurt.

 I understand that we sit around, sometimes for 24 hours, with nothing to do (hopefully). We talk. It’s going to happen. Sometimes, things you say just flow out. Without some type of filter. Mine used to get clogged all the time. Next thing you know, the whole “house” knows your business. God forbid your SO shows up and they start talking to them about it. You know you’re probably going to be in trouble with your SO. I know most of you are probably good friends/family with your partner/shift. And that’s great. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes your/their business gets out innocently.

 When they start talking about things, listen. If they seem to be getting in deep convo about their SO, let them know that they should probably get some help. Especially if they think they’re cheating, struggling with addiction, etc. You can help break that stigma. You can keep quiet about their struggles, don’t tell the world, even if you do so innocently. Tell them to seek help. You can help them find help.

 Remember that EAP I spoke about in the last blog? They can help with relationship problems. Lord knows I should have done this BEFORE I got married. Again, the stigma. Man, it gets us every time!! Y’all we need to stop the stigma with therapy and First Responders!! It may help save a relationship or it could point out that you shouldn’t be together and help you through it.

 So, in short, mind ya business. Kidding! Help them out by getting them to seek help. And if they tell you they are in counseling, don’t give them crap about it. Support them along the way.