Legislators pass bill to provide counseling services for Missouri first responders

Bill Grady
May 18, 2018 - 7:18 am

A measure that could help first responders get counseling services is on its way to the Missouri governor's desk.

Missouri has been the only state in the union that does not provide peer counseling for first responders, said Brad Lemon, head of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 99 in Kansas City.

House Bill 1355 mandates confidential peer counseling for police officers, firefighters and medics who face emotionally difficult situations on a routine basis.

Lemon said it is important for first responders to keep an eye out for one another.   

"Proactively identify people that may be struggling, and then give them the opportunity to talk through these issues, or get to a psychologists, who are obviously more prepared to handle the bigger issues," Lemon said.

Lemon is hopeful that with the assurance of confidentiality, more emergency workers will step forward. He adds though, that one challenge is changing the culture, and getting folks to admit they need help.

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