PTSD

Florida lawmakers want broader workers' compensation coverage for first responders with post-traumatic stress disorder. But a new version of the bill would add more requirements as well.

Among the many bills to be considered during Florida’s 2018 legislative session is legislation that would offer alternative treatments to veterans with post-traumatic stress.

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Legislation to expand workers’ compensation benefits to include post-traumatic stress disorder for firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and other first responders unanimously passed its first Senate committee in Tallahassee last week.

PTSD is currently only fully covered by workers’ comp if a mental injury is accompanied by a physical injury that requires medical treatment. Advocates say the suicide rate among first responders is higher than the rate among the general population, and that expanding workers’ comp coverage for mental health issues like PTSD would bring that number down.

First responders run towards crashes, emergencies and catastrophes, not away from them. And for some, their experiences are leading to post traumatic stress disorder. But in Florida, first responders who develop PTSD on the job don’t get compensated, unless they have a physical injury as well. Now there are efforts at the statehouse to change that. A note to listeners, the following story includes frank discussion of death and suicide.

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

As PBS stations across the country continue airing the ten-park, 18-hour documentary series The Vietnam War, veterans advocates across the nation are using the moment to reach out to vets who may be seeking help, a person to discuss their military service with, or coming to terms with undiagnosed trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

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