WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Susan Brooks was one of the authors on H.R. 2228, the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017, which would help agencies create and improve mental health services for law enforcement officers. The bill was passed Nov. 28 after it was introduced earlier this year by Susan Brooks (R-IN), Val Demings (D-FL), Doug Collins (R-GA), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) and Dave Reichert (R-WA).
Brooks represents District 5, which includes Hamilton County. She appeared pleased with the bill’s passage.
"Our police officers face a culture of silence when it comes to mental health challenges, and they need better access to mental health services to help them cope with unforgettable situations," she said. "In the Fifth District, Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen's daughter, also a police officer, tried to take her own life because she was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after responding to a case involving the murder of a mother and her 4-year-old son. Nielsen's daughter did not have access to services that could help her process and cope with the horrific situation she faced that day. The passage of the Law Enforcement Mental Wellness Act through the House of Representatives today ensures that we are one step closer to supporting the men and women in law enforcement with the resources they need to stay healthy while selflessly serving our communities and keeping us safe."
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 would direct the Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop resources to equip local law enforcement agencies to address mental health challenges faced by officers. The bill would also make grants available to initiate peer mentoring pilot programs, develop training for mental health providers specific to law enforcement mental health needs, and support law enforcement officers by studying the effectiveness of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks. The bill recently passed the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
This legislation is supported by 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.