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Whitson’s Mental health support bill for emergency responders awaits governor’s signature


Whitson’s Mental health support bill for emergency responders awaits governor’s signature

A measure supporting the mental and behavioral health of Tennessee’s first responders passed in the recent session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

Sponsored by State Rep. Sam Whitson (R-Franklin), House Bill 1510 — also known as the Tennessee Public Safety & Behavioral Health Act — provides Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers and professional firefighters with access to support services at no cost in an effort to assist in the treatment of mental and behavioral health issues — including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Fire and Emergency Medical employees will respond to thousands of calls during their careers. Some will remain with them forever. In cases involving PTSD, counseling services may help them cope.

PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.

The goal of House Bill 1510 is to promote the use of mental and behavioral health service providers to professionals who may benefit from them.

“These brave men and women are often called upon to respond to some of the most difficult scenarios imaginable,” Whitson said. “We must ensure that their experiences do not have a negative impact on their long-term health and well-being. House Bill 1510 creates an additional resource that will assist those who need help, and I am pleased that this initiative will soon be signed into law.”

House Bill 1510 awaits Gov. Bill Haslam’s signature. For more information, please click here.

Whitson serves as a member of the House Health Committee, as well as the House Transportation Committee & Subcommittee. Whitson lives in Franklin and represents House District 65, which includes part of Williamson County. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Sam.Whitson@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1864.

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