SPRINGFIELD – Members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have approved the Public Safety Officer Support Act to expand the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits program to families who lose a first responder to suicide.

Sen. Kris TharpCalling upon his experience as a police officer, State Senator Kris Tharp (D-Bethalto) commends the federal effort to offer support to more families and released the following statement:

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“First responders have regular exposure to traumatic events and life-threatening situations, and the stress of working long hours under high-stakes conditions can take a toll on mental health.

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“Advancing the Public Safety Officer Support Act helps ensure family members of first responders who have died by suicide are able to receive support their loved ones earned through their public service.

“In Illinois, we are working with the Department of Human Services to create the First Responder Mental Health Grant Program to improve mental health resources for police officers, firefighters and emergency responders. I look forward to the program’s implementation and will share more information as becomes available.”

The Public Safety Officer Support Act awaits further action by the President.

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