SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – New mental health resources will be available for first responders due to legislation carried by state Rep. Fran Hurley, D-Chicago.
“PTSD and depression rates are five times higher for first responders than the civilian population,” said Hurley. “Police and Firefighters risk their lives every single day to ensure our safety, and sometimes that means seeing and dealing with traumatic situations that can affect their mental health. It’s incredibly important we are doing everything we can to protect those who are protecting us.”
Hurley’s legislation, House Bill 3911, will enact the recommendations found by First Responders Suicide Task Force. Over the past year, the task force has researched suicide rates in first responders and found new resources for first responders that will help reduce these tragedies. Recommendations include increasing access to mental health and wellness programs, peer support, ongoing mental health education, as well as continuing education on recognizing and addressing mental health issues.
“One day we can hopefully say that these senseless tragedies are gone, but until then I remain committed to continue working to protect our first responders,” continued Hurley. “Now that we have found out more information on suicide rates and how to maximize mental health resources for our first responders, I look forward to these agencies taking these recommendations and making them part of their plan.”