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Should workers’ compensation cover PTSD for first responders?

These days, more attention and understanding have fallen on mental health issues. As awareness grows, more and more people come to recognize that mental health can have just as much of an impact on an individual as physical health.

To that end, compensation benefits continue changing to apply to different and varying situations. Should this also extend to issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?

Failure of a proposed bill

Alive discusses the failure of a recent bill aiming to allow workers’ compensation to cover PTSD for first responders. The outline of the proposal essentially stated that police officers, EMS workers and firefighters diagnosed with PTSD would have access to provided coverage. It also outlined further help, such as time off for first responders and resources for those seeking help for the mental health issues related to their professions.

Many first responders and members of the first responder community states that this feels like a heavy blow. They feel underappreciated despite the fact that their jobs involve saving the lives of numerous other citizens every day.

An impact on the entire community

First responders also state that it could possibly impact their ability to continue carrying out their jobs effectively and safely. In essence, with issues like PTSD, anxiety and depression, a worker can no longer give their full effort to their job. With the high-stakes jobs that first responders have, one small slip could mean the difference between life and death.

Currently in Georgia, there is no coverage for any mental health issue through workers’ comp unless the worker also has an accompanying physical wound.