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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: January 20, 2017 03:45 PM
From: Representative Tina M. Davis and Rep. Michael H. Schlossberg
To: All House members
Subject: Emergency Workers Mental Health Commission
When an emergency occurs, it is the police, firefighter, and emergency medical personnel that rush into the fray to save lives and help others. However, often these heroes are silent when their work has caused a crisis in their own lives. The constant pressure and stress of these essential jobs takes a toll. Without help and the proper coping skills, these heroes can find themselves in a deep depression or rely on alcohol or other drugs to cope. Most tragically, sometimes the stress becomes too much to bear and these heroes take their own lives.

This past year, tragedy struck Bucks County when two young firefighters took their own lives. This is a sad story that is told far too often all across Pennsylvania. In an effort to combat these problems we have decided to introduce legislation that seeks to help those who help and protect us.

Our bill would create the Emergency Workers Mental Health Commission. This commission would be established under the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and be tasked with creating the following:
  • A peer-to-peer counselor support network that can work with emergency workers who are having a crisis
  • A toll-free hotline that emergency workers can call and get help
  • A website providing information on stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and addiction
  • Placing posters in every fire station, ambulance bay, and police station notifying emergency workers of the toll-free number and website

In addition, all of these services would be available to professional or volunteer firefighters, professional or volunteer emergency medical personnel, and law enforcement officers.

I hope you will join us in co-sponsoring this important and hopefully lifesaving legislation. Thank you.

Introduced as HB955