California has passed legislation which recognizes mental health occupational injuries. Those in first responder positions face an unpredictable workday that can include high-stress situations and traumatic events. Traditionally, workers’ compensation benefits were not available for mental health disorders.
PTSD is a growing trend
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a common condition that is growing among first responders. Experiencing traumatic events at work can cause some individuals to experience mental health problems. Now, workers’ compensation benefits can assist these first responders by providing them with money to meet their expenses while they work on taking care of their condition.
In the past, mental health issues weren’t properly addressed for these first responders. Rather, there was a stigmatism about mental health conditions like PTSD. As these conditions are starting to be recognized and treated with compassion for healing, many are hopeful that those facing PTSD will receive the help they need to heal their mental affliction.
This could reduce the number of suicides
A study that was done in 2017 revealed that there were more suicide deaths by first responder workers than deaths due to being in the line of duty. More specifically, the study noted that 93 firefighters and 129 police officers were killed in the line of duty during 2017, but the suicide numbers were slightly higher for each occupation. These figures make it perfectly clear that adding mental health benefits to workers’ compensation is a necessity for these first responders.
As the country puts more focus on learning about and treating mental health conditions, the laws are starting to catch up. Since 2019, California first responders are able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for recognized mental health disorders. As time progresses, it is expected that more states will be passing legislation regarding this issue.