Declaring their "mental health is just as essential as (their) physical health," Congressman Doug Collins Wednesday hosted a meeting at Lanier Technical College on mental health resources for first responders.
In 2018, at least 159 first responders nationwide died from suicide—nearly 10% more than the total number of line-of-duty deaths resulting from causes such as assault, vehicle accidents, heart attacks, and duty-related illness
“Mental health is just as essential as physical health in order for our law enforcement officers to remain effective in keeping our communities safe, yet first responders often face serious trauma resulting from their line of work,” Collins said. “As the son of a Georgia State Trooper, I understand firsthand the challenges facing our officers, and I am committed to ensuring they have access to the resources needed to address their health and well-being.”
First responder agencies from Hall and surrounding counties sent representatives to the meeting, which was held on the Lanier Tech Gainesville campus. A number of other groups were on hand to discusses the services, including mental health, available to first responders and others.
“I want to thank the many agencies who traveled near and far to participate in today’s symposium," the Gainesville Republican added. "Their feedback is invaluable as we explore ways to help meet the needs of our first responders, and I will continue to seek their input as we work towards drafting legislation to address these issues.”
In March, the Department of Justice submitted a report to Congress detailing the gap of law enforcement mental wellness and programs. The report listed several recommendations to assist first responders’ access to mental health care, including possible legislative solutions.