Bipartisan bill offered by Joyce, Turner provides stress support to first responders

U.S. Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Mike Turner (R-OH) on June 14 unveiled bipartisan legislation that would require the Attorney General to propose making treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder available to public safety officers and first responders.

“I’m proud to introduce this bill to ensure law enforcement officers and first responders have access to the mental health care they need to cope with trauma they face while selflessly serving our communities,” said Rep. Joyce, who sponsored the Fighting Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act of 2022, H.R. 8058, with three original cosponsors, including Rep. Turner and U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH).

Introduced during PTSD Awareness Month, H.R. 8058 would help police, fire, emergency services, and 911 personnel cope with their on-the-job stressors, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers. 

“Each day our first responders face immense stress and heavy responsibilities as they keep our communities safe,” said Rep. Turner. “As Mayor and now in Congress, I have worked alongside our first responders to make sure they have the professional and personal resources needed to safely do their jobs. This bipartisan legislation continues that effort.”

Specifically, the bill would require the Attorney General to establish at least one evidence-based treatment and preventative care program within the U.S. Department of Justice to help public safety officers with job-related PTSD.

“Police officers and other public safety personnel are the first line of defense in our communities when disaster strikes,” Rep. Joyce said. “Unfortunately, the danger and stress they face on the job doesn’t just disappear when they’re off the clock.” 

Additionally, the bill would require the AG to consult relevant stakeholders while crafting the program(s), including federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local agencies employing public safety officers, as well as non-governmental organizations that support law enforcement officers and their families.  

By doing so, the bill would lay the groundwork for action aimed at offering increased support to law enforcement officers and first responders struggling with PTSD, the summary says.

H.R. 8058 is companion legislation to the same-named S. 4007, sponsored on April 5 by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and six original cosponsors, including U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Christopher Coons (D-DE).

“I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for joining me in this important effort and urge the rest of the House to support this bipartisan bill so that the men and women who risk their lives to save others are able to get the care they need,” added Rep. Joyce.