PTSD would be added to the list of injuries eligible for public employee benefits under bill

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Rep. Kenny Cox, D-Natchitoches, commented on the bill. (Photo credit: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Lauren Heffker, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 16, 2019

BATON ROUGE–In a move to address mental illness among firefighters and police officers, a House committee advanced a bill Thursday that would add post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of injuries eligible for public employee benefits.

The Senate had already approved the bill, and it now moves to the House floor.

“In the old days, we said ‘suck it up, buttercup,’ and ‘man up,’ and that became not really a good coping skill to teach people,” said Sen. Ryan Gatti, R-Bossier, who sponsored the bill.

Members of the House Labor Committee discussed the bill in an emotional hearing during which several public servants and employees spoke about their mental health problems.

“Our numbers are rising,” said Matt Kinney, who works for the Bossier City Fire Department. “Our firefighters and police officers are dying. They don’t have the support or the means that they need.”

Kinney pointed out the detrimental effects of not treating PTSD, including substance abuse and high divorce rates among firefighters.

Read more in The Advocate.

 

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