For too long, the mental health issues of our first-response workers have been overlooked. A dark fact from 2017 is a testament to that, in which more firefighters and police officers nationwide died by suicide than in the line of duty.
In an effort to provide better mental health support to firefighters, California Gov. Gavin Newsome signed a package of bills into law that offers additional help amid the state’s worsening wildfires in recent years. The measures, including Assembly Bill 1116 and Senate Bill 542, create peer support programs for firefighters and add post-traumatic stress to the eligible “injuries” that qualify firefighters and law enforcement officers for worker’s compensation to get treatment or take time off.
Hopefully, more states take notice of the extra measures coming into effect in California and follow suit.