Blackburn, Grassley-Coons Bill To Help First Responders Suffering From PTSD Passes Senate
March 6, 2023
U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) led their colleagues in applauding the unanimous Senate passage of their bipartisan legislation to establish mental health programs for America’s first responders. The Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2023 would help police, fire, emergency medical and 911 personnel who face long-term mental health effects as a result of providing life-saving services in moments of crisis.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.). The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.
“Our first responders work tirelessly in high-risk situations every day to keep our communities healthy and safe,” said Senator Blackburn. “This bipartisan legislation is a critical step toward ensuring the brave public safety officers suffering from job-related PTSD have access to the care and resources they deserve."
“First responders are humble and heroic members of our community,” said Senator Grassley. “Their selfless service often places them at physical risk and can also result in serious mental and emotional distress after the fact. I’m glad to see this legislation move forward so that we can provide first responders with the mental health resources they need and deserve."
“As co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, I know how important it is to provide not only the resources first responders need every day but also for the effects from the sacrifices they make on the front lines,” said Senator Coons.“The Fighting PTSD Act supports first responders in Delaware and across America to ensure our communities’ safety and crime reduction. Congress cannot wait any longer—the rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among first responders increase daily. I’m committed to working with my colleagues on this bipartisan, bicameral bill and deliver help to first responders across Delaware.”
The Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act would require the Justice Department to submit a report on evidence-based treatment programs for first responders across the country, similar to services available to military personnel who develop PTSD or acute stress disorders. The bill requires the Justice Department to consult with stakeholders, including public safety officer organizations, in developing the program. The services would be available to first responders in communities of all sizes across the country.