Rep. Bera Amendment Exploring Peer to Peer Mental Health Programs for First Responders Passes House
WASHINGTON, DC – An amendment introduced by Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act passed the House of Representatives last night with a near unanimous bipartisan vote (396 in favor). The amendment directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to explore using its funds to research peer to peer mental health programs for first responders.
“Our first responder heroes, including police, EMS, and firefighters, are tragically at risk for higher rates of suicide,” said Rep. Bera M.D. “Every day, they protect our communities by responding to our calls for help. It’s our obligation to answer their call and to ensure they have access to life-saving mental health care. I am glad that this important legislation passed the House of Representatives and that our first responders receive the help and support that they need.”
Rep. Bera recently introduced the Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act. The HERO Act directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report to Congress each year on first responder suicide rates, including identifying risk factors, possible interventions, and recommended interventions for further study. The bill also establishes grants for peer-to-peer counseling for firefighters and requires HHS to develop and distribute best practices on the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress among first responders.
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