In an effort to address the stresses of responding to COIVD-19, New Jersey Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25th District) has introduced a number of bills aimed at helping frontline healthcare workers and first responders deal with PTSD.
Bucco’s bills would not only help frontline workers get assistance with PTSD and other mental health issues, but work to train those workers and the organizations they work for to spot the signs of PTSD.
“While the number of COVID cases has fallen, the pain and trauma experienced by those fighting on the front lines show no signs of stopping,” said Bucco. “We need to protect our first responders with various tools and resources to help them overcome overwhelming situations and stay grounded. They heeded the call during a great time of need, now it’s our mission to save the lives of the healthcare heroes tasked to save ours.”
Two of Bucco’s state legislative measures would directly address PTSD in first responders. The first bill would create a First Responder Pandemic PTSD Task Force. A second would establish the COVID-19 Frontline Mental Health Claims Program within the NJ Department of Human Services.
The bills are part of a seven bill package that would also create a toll-free hotline for frontline workers and first responders to call if they are experiencing PTSD; require health care facilities to frontline workers and first responders for COVID-19 related PTSD; provide DHS funded service dogs to frontline workers and first responders suffering from PTSD; establish public awareness campaigns about PTSD and urge the federal government to provide aid to NJ to combat COVID-19 related PTSD.
“A silent struggle with PTSD can turn deadly without the proper support,” added Bucco. “Heroes need help, too. Creating a task force, along with ensuring that our residents who worked in frontline positions during the pandemic have access to mental health services, regardless of coverage, is the right thing to do.”