LINCOLN- U.S. Senators Deb Fischer and Jacky Rosen have introduced the bipartisan HERO Act.
The bill is aimed to help reduce suicides among firefighters and emergency health personnel through data collection, risk identification and prevention, and resources including peer-to-peer counseling. The HERO Act responds to reports that first responders may be at higher risk for suicide and mental illness than other professions, and recognizes that the federal government must do more to study the mental health challenges that first responders face. The bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data and report to Congress every year on first responder suicide rates, requires HHS to identify risk factors, possible interventions, and recommended interventions for further study, establishes grants for peer-to-peer counseling for firefighters and requires HHS to develop and distribute best practices on the prevention and treatment of posttraumatic stress among first responders.
President of the Nebraska Professional Fire Fighters Association Darren Garrean said, “Senator Fischer recognizes the importance of Nebraska Firefighters in our local communities. This HERO Act will provide the tools to help keep our members healthy, so we can continue to help and serve those in need.”