Friday, January 12, 2018 1:00 am
Officers' mental health focus of new law
BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette
President Donald Trump has enacted bipartisan legislation introduced by three Indiana lawmakers to improve mental health care for law enforcement officers.
Trump signed the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act into law Wednesday evening. Companion versions had been introduced by Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Todd Young, R-Ind., and Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Val Demings, D-Fla. The Senate and the House approved the legislation in votes taken last year.
The legislation directs the Justice and the Health and Human Services departments to develop resources for mental health providers based on challenges faced by law enforcement officers.
It also makes federal grants available for peer mentoring pilot programs; provides for a study of the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and yearly mental health checks; and directs the Justice, Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to confer about existing VA and Defense mental health practices and services that could be adopted by law enforcement agencies.
Donnelly said in a statement that the law “will provide tools for law enforcement agencies to help support the mental health and wellness of these brave men and women.” Young said in a statement that the law “means that these brave men and women will have greater access to mental health services when they need them.”
Brooks said in a statement that law enforcement officers “deserve better access to mental health services that will allow them to safely cope with the stress and trauma they experience on the job.”