NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Attorneys General from across the country are calling on Congress to provide first responders with help to address work-related PTSD.
Research shows about 85% of first responders experience some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Compared to the general public, they are 25.6 times more likely to develop PTSD. Research shows those suffering from it are at an increased risk of suicide.
If passed, the legislation would address gaps in support for public safety officers who become disabled by PTSD or lose their lives to trauma-linked suicide.
According to local nonprofit Serve & Protect, more police and firefighters die from suicide than in the line of duty.
On Monday, Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine joined a bipartisan group of 53 attorneys general who are urging Congress to pass The Public Safety Officer Support Act of 2022.
They say many first responders struggle to access mental health care, and the families of those who die by suicide are deprived of benefits. The legislation would allow work-related PTSD to be treated as if it's a line-of-duty injury and allow families of officers who die by trauma-linked suicide to apply for death benefits.
The legislation has received support from the Republicans and Democrats and has been endorsed by the FOP, the National Association of Police Organizations, and many other groups.