U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young Tuesday praised the passage of the bipartisan Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill now heads back to the U.S. Senate. Donnelly and Young introduced the bill in the Senate in early April and it passed unanimously in May. U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks (IN-05) and Val Demings (FL-10) introduced the companion bill in the House of Representatives in late April.
Donnelly and Young said, “This bipartisan legislation is focused on supporting the mental health and wellness of the law enforcement officers who go to work every day protecting our families and communities. We thank Congresswomen Brooks and Demings for joining us in this effort and laud the House of Representatives for taking this step. We will continue working together to get this bill to the president’s desk to be signed into law.”
Chuck Canterbury, National President of the FOP, said, “This bill came to be when Senators Joe Donnelly and Todd Young reached out to us to see what more could be done to help law enforcement officers struggling to cope with the stresses of their profession. Our officers wear protective clothing and other equipment to keep themselves safe from physical harm, but these officers also face challenges to their mental health and well-being. This legislation is the first step in making sure we do everything we can to improve the mental wellness of our nation’s law enforcement officers.”
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act would make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, direct the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to develop resources for mental health providers based on the specific mental health challenges faced by law enforcement, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.
It would also direct the Departments of Defense (DoD), Justice, and Veterans Affairs (VA) to confer about existing DoD and VA mental health practices and services that could be adopted by law enforcement agencies.
The legislation has the support of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the National Association of Police Officers (NAPO), the Major County Sheriffs of America (MCSA), the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA), and the Sergeants Benevolent Association.