Compared to other occupational groups, first responders (FR) experience worse mental health outcomes due to duty-related trauma and occupational stressors. Despite their best efforts, they bring this stress home to friends and family. Consequently, FR and their supporters suffer from increased psychosocial difficulties and experience stigma and other barriers to help-seeking. Prior work offers little opportunity for open dialogue and shared understanding of the repercussions of this occupation for all members of the first responder community.

In this qualitative study, we aimed to: (i) explore the lived experience of Irish FR and their family members (FM) related to occupational stressors, and (ii) identify opportunities to engage FM with existing organizational supports available for FR.