New California Law Will Help Firefighters Get Mental Health Care

The bills expand resources and protections.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law that will make mental health care more accessible for firefighters and peace officers in the state.

Newsom said the bills will help provide resources and protections for firefighters who want to deal with mental health issues. It will develop a peer support program and allow firefighters to cite post-traumatic stress as an injury if they are seeking out workers compensation. 

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"They can experience high-stress situations and traumatic incidents that can push them to the limit both physically and mentally, and we need to recognize and take those challenges head on," Governor Newsom told NBC San Diego.

The bill comes after San Diego County Board of Supervisors passed similar measures at the local level to help provide confidential services for firefighters who wanted mental health care. Assembly Bill 1116 will make standards statewide and provide firefighters with a group of peers who will be available to help counsel them through difficult situations.

"Today we offer a life-line to these brave women and men who might otherwise suffer in silence," the bill's author, Assemblymember Grayson of Concord, said. 

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

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