Gov. Paul LePage has signed into a law a bill that supporters say will make it easier for first responders to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Until now, police, firefighters and EMTs in Maine who sought workers compensation benefits for PTSD had to prove that they developed the disorder from their work. This new law no longer puts the onus on first responders; instead, it creates a presumption that if they’re diagnosed with PTSD, it’s work-related.
Jenna Mehnert, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Maine, says that will make it easier to ask for and access treatment.
“We see this as a great first step in really addressing the stigma first responders face in seeking help, and we’re ecstatic,” she says.
Mehnert says NAMI Maine is currently working on a project to train mental health clinicians specifically on the needs of first responders.