Bill would bring quality PTSD care to Tennessee firefighters, EMS personnel

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A bill before the Tennessee legislature aims to ensure quality post-traumatic stress care for firefighters and emergency responders.

For many, PTSD is associated with soldiers returning from war, but firefighters and EMS personnel face similar traumatic events in their line of work.

The job regularly exposes first responders to some of the worst human tragedies imaginable.

Mark Young, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 140 in Nashville, said he can think of six cases in the last 12 months that have had a serious impact on local personnel.

“Especially dealing with death or something very tragic with children, I find my members have some difficulty with that,” said Young.

Mark Young (Photo: WKRN)

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Sam Whitson looks to ensure quality care for those suffering from PTSD.

The bill aims to guarantee access to a behavioral health counselor trained to deal with the unique issues facing public safety employees.

Young supports the legislation.

“Not only the initial treatment, but treatment in a long-term phase, as long as it takes to get back to your normal self before you return to the job,” he explained.

That includes any paid professional firefighter or emergency medical worker employed by the state or local government.

Law enforcement in the state are already ensured similar coverage.