Over time, the stress of being a first responder can take a serious toll on mental health. Firefighters, police officers, emergency dispatchers and EMTs witness tragedy on a daily basis. This can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can cause depression, anxiety, negative thoughts, emotional detachment, difficulty maintaining close relationships, substance abuse and other problems.
The proposed Ohio Workers Comp Budget Bill (House Bill 80) adds language that would allow emergency personnel in Ohio who suffer job-related PTSD to file worker’s compensation claim, even if they did not suffer a physical injury. Previously, any mental condition that was considered eligible for worker’s compensation needed to be accompanied by a physical injury.
According to WBNS News, the part of the bill offering eligibility to first responders was pushed by Katherin Hardin, whose 28-year-old son Trever Murphy, a former firefighter with Orange Township Fire Department in Delaware, committed suicide. First responders are 10 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. A 2015 survey of more than 4,000 first responders found that 37% had contemplated suicide and almost 7% had attempted it.
This week the Ohio House of Representatives approved the bill, sending it to the Senate. If you wish to contact members of the Ohio Senate to voice your support for the first responders eligibility for PTSD compensation, go to http://www.ohiosenate.gov/senators.
If you have questions about workers’ compensation claims, contact GBM law for a free consultation.