CHICAGO – To highlight the impact of trauma endured by first responders and law enforcement and their personal experiences with mental health challenges, state Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago, is partnering with the Chicago-based non-profit Erasing the Distance to bring a first responders story showcase to the Beverly Arts Center on Tuesday, March 26 at 7 p.m.
“Police and first responders are at an increased risk of mental health challenges such as PTSD because they are routinely exposed to traumatic events at work,” said Hurley. “In many cases, officers avoid or resist asking for help for fear of losing the public’s trust or losing their job. The stigmatization of mental healthcare among these courageous men and women has led to police suicides outnumbering line-of-duty deaths for three years in a row, and this is absolutely unacceptable.”
A strong advocate of increased mental health support for law enforcement and first responders, Hurley has introduced legislation that would allow emergency services and public safety personnel to access confidential peer support counseling services without risk of losing their job. Hurley’s measure would also implement training programs for police and fire fighters to recognize signs of work-related cumulative stress and appropriate solutions for intervention. Through the first responders story showcase, Hurley hopes to offer community members more insight into the challenges first responders ensure on a daily basis, and how those who know and love them can help them heal. Tickets to the showcase performance on Tuesday, March 26 are free and can be reserved by contacting the Beverly Arts Center at 773-445-3838.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to police and first responders for their commitment to keep our community safe every day,” said Hurley. “This showcase will offer audience members a first-hand perspective of the unique challenges they endure in the line of duty, and how each of us can help support them as they protect us. Thank you to Dr. John Ross, who volunteers with Catholic Charities’ Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide program, for bringing this event to our attention.”