SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force will now be required to establish improved guidance to aid the mental health of first responders as a part of new legislation supported by state Rep. Lance Yednock, D-Ottawa.
“Our first responders are tasked with protecting and serving us every day and we understand how handling such important situations and even life-or-death emergencies can be mentally taxing to these individuals” said Yednock. “The more we learn about mental health and its effects on the mind and body, we must continue to advance how we apply this knowledge to help the people of Illinois.”
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), first responders may be at elevated risk for suicide because of the environments in which they work in along with stress both from their occupation and their personal lives. Studies conducted by the CDC, also suggest that law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.
Yednock voted in support of House Bill 3911, which will allow the First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force make specified recommendations subsequent to its study findings from a December 2020 report conducted with the help of the Illinois State Police (ISP). Established during the 101st General Assembly (2019-2020), the First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force was created to seek out recommendations focused toward reducing the risk and rates of suicide among first responders. House Bill 3911 was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker.
“Our law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, nurses and other first responders are the superheroes for our community. We often see them as invincible but recent studies have shown that their health and wellbeing is often not as accounted for as it needs to be,” said Yednock “With the help of ISP’s recent findings and the compassion of the First Responders Suicide Prevention Task Force, this data will be used to save the lives of the people we call upon to save ours.”