Blunt and colleagues introduce bill to help first responders deal with stress of serving communities in times of crisis

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WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.) joined a bipartisan group of his colleagues to introduce legislation to help police, firefighters, emergency medical services and 911 personnel do coping with the stress of responding to crisis situations. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022 would establish mental health programs for America’s first responders who often face long-term effects providing life-saving services in times of crisis.

“First responders face incredibly dangerous and stressful situations every day,” Blunt said. “As a mental health advocate and co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, I am proud to introduce this bill to establish mental health programs tailored to the unique needs of first responders. I urge all of my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill to ensure that the men and women who risk their lives to save others can get the care they need.

“In times of crisis, we rely on first responders and dispatchers to provide life-saving assistance – often at their own enormous risk,” said US Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa). “Beyond the physical scars, this essential service can also have mental and emotional consequences. This bill is an essential step in ensuring that courageous people who step up to critical situations have access to the mental health services needed to manage stress, stay healthy and continue to serve our communities.

Police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and 911 dispatchers regularly face high-stress situations, putting them at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which increases the risk of suicide. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act would require the Department of Justice to establish evidence-based treatment programs for first responders across the country, similar to services available to military personnel who develop a PTSD or acute stress disorders. The bill requires the Department of Justice to consult with stakeholders, including public safety officer organizations, when developing the program, which would be available to serve first responders in communities of all sizes. Across the country.

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Act is supported by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Sergeants Benevolent Association. NYPD.

In addition to Blunt and Grassley, the bill was introduced by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (Del.), Todd Young (Ind.), Maggie Hassan (NH), Dianne Feinstein (California) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio).

The text of the bill is available HERE.

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