House passes legislation to support fire and EMS mental wellness

The HERO Act will develop peer mental health training programs and create a system to collect information about first responder suicides


By Janelle Foskett

CHANTILLY, Va. The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed legislation to provide critical resources to local fire and EMS personnel.

The Helping Emergency Responders Overcome (HERO) Act (H.R. 1646) will develop peer mental health training programs and resources to educate mental health professionals about active and retired firefighters' needs, according to a statement from the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). The bill will also create a national data system to collect information about first responder suicides to better treat those in need of assistance.

The bill was sponsored by Representative Ami Bera (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by 89 House members.

"I thank the House for addressing this important issue for America's first responders," said Chief Richard Carrizzo, IAFC president and chairman of the board of. "America's fire and EMS personnel are on the front lines every day serving their community in response to COVID-19, wildland fires, hurricanes, and civil unrest along with daily fire and EMS calls. The research and capabilities provided by the HERO Act will help our nation's heroes cope with the stress and strain of a physically-tiring and emotionally draining profession. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation quickly so that President Trump can sign it."

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