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My boyfriend is new to the police force

Community Member
I am 21y/0 female, my boyfriend has just joined the police force. For about 5 years I have struggled with depression and anxiety, my partner struggles from mild anxiety. I have concerns about him being a cop just like I have concerns about most things, I have read many articles and the book “Emotionsl survival for law enforcement” an excellent book I might add. I am looking for pre assistance into understanding what he will be seeing and how he is going to cope in the work force, with shift work and the trauma that police officers face daily. I know it might be a few years before he sees anything traumatising or that will give him PTSD, but I want to be prepared. Is there any way I can prepare for the future?
Thank you in advanced.
4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Girlfriend,

Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing something so deep and personal with us.

All I can say is if anything challenging comes up, stay strong and be there to support him in anyway possible. But hopefully he powers through all the challenges and doesn't need further support.

If he does need support its best to start the journey with his GP, if anything gets to much for the GP to handle he can refer him to the appropriate professional.

Let us know you thoughts.



white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

In itself, worrying about a future expansion of his anxiety or additional mental illness from his profession is a little like the anxiety of flying on an aeroplane if one day you'll travel in one.

I say that because worry serves no purpose. None.

Shift work can be a burden for some, others fly through it. After many years in security I know that much.

Police work is demanding but you share your duties with colleagues and you're often active so time flies fast compared to security on a boom gate where you have zilch to do.

Police after hours usually socialise together. This means partners do also. I suggest that you both do the same but not as often as many do. Keep a little distance and have other friends outside the force. He might like his job but saturation is a problem.

He will definitely need your support following traumatic events. Silence with a hug can be gold. Praise equally so.

They get more holidays than most professions so take advantage of that and travel. A caravan on a bank of a river etc is great.

All the best.



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi girlfriend to a cop,

Good on you for wanting to seek out ways to support your partner. Although you probably want to know everything he may face, I think in this instance it’s probably best not to get bogged down in the details of what he may encounter. He will face difficulties that come with the job, that is for certain, but I commend him for taking on this challenge fearlessly. All that you can do is be supportive of him, and be that soft place for him to fall. You can help him practically by making his load lighter elsewhere where you can, for example cook meals that can be frozen for easy reheating if he’s working shift work etc. But I think the most taxing things are when you are dealing with a stressful job and then come home to a stressful environment. Home should be a safe place where people can recharge.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear GFtaC~

I think you have already had some good advice. I was a policeman until invalided out with the usual suspects, PTSD, bouts of depressions and ongoing anxiety. I'm afraid I'm not sure of the wisdom of anyone with an anxiety conditon being a member of a force, however as he is now in the best strategy is to take that into account.

The first thing I'd have to say is that PTSD is not a given, some people can handle the more traumatic side of police work than others and basically get though their career unharmed. The second is that your BF needs to take an intelligent attitude to his career, and not soldier on if things are starting to affect him, but shift to another area. Actually regularly shifting areas is probably a good idea for its own sake and for one's career.

Such a career can be interesting, challenging and not necessarily harmful. On the other hand it can get to seem 'the only think in the world' (my mistake).

As time goes on there is a danger one can become blinkered and make police all of one's life, both on duty and off, even socializing almost exclusively with colleagues and their families. This is not necessarily good. While there is no doubt police work is highly demanding and forms probably the majority of one's life and social connections with workmates are necessary there does need to be an attempt at balance, with interests completely divorced from work.

If your BF ends up with an experienced unofficial mentor who can tell him if he is getting too close to his work and liable to suffer mental health effects from it so much the better, sadly I had no such person.

I guess for you the best support is to keep an eye open for adverse reactions and speak up at that stage - in a firm but loving way. Encouraging him to seek professional help early if it is needed. There is no need to know the details of every traumatic incident he faces, that can have an adverse effect on you, something you don't need.

There is no room here to go into all the warning signs one might encounter, however the more distant he appears, and of course any very marked change from his normal self, should be noted. Friendly discussion with him early on is good.

You are welcome here at any time to discuss whatever concerns you, it is not always easy being a policeman's partner.