SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – This past week, state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago, introduced legislation allowing first responders to file workers’ compensation claims to coverage post-traumatic stress. If passed, this measure would expand workers’ compensation for all Illinois firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics.
“First responders put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe and in many cases they experience trauma on the job,” said LaPointe. “That is why I introduced this new measure to help our first responders receive the compensation they truly deserve by including post-traumatic stress disorder. They have our backs during an emergency, and we need to have theirs.”
Rep. LaPointe introduced House Bill 5569 that amends the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Workers’ Occupational Diseases Act to include coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for all Illinois firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), emergency medical technician-intermediate (EMT-Is), advanced emergency medical technicians (A-EMTs), and paramedics. Due to the heightened exposure to trauma and stress within these occupations, first responders are at a greater risk of developing various symptoms of PTSD, including depression, anxiety, loss of appetite, and social withdrawal.
“We have to do better and provide more resources to the brave men and women who experience trauma every day while working to protect our families and keep our streets safe,” LaPointe said. “No one should be made to suffer in silence or feel shame for struggling with PTSD, especially our first responders. Please know that I see you, your pain matters and you’re not alone.”
If you or someone you know needs help, the following crisis hotlines are available to provide confidential support and referral services:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or Lifeline Chat services at suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 800-950-NAMI (800-950-6264)