Bill hopes to offer more help to those with PTSD

Posted at 8:48 PM, Apr 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 23:18:42-04

More resources may be coming to people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

There were tears at the State Capitol Friday as first responders and their family members asked lawmakers to help those suffering from the condition. 

“It can be from a singular traumatic event or it can be from an accumulation of traumatic events,” said Sgt. Sean Harper with the Longmont Police Department.

Sgt. Harper has spent two decades in law enforcement and knows the symptoms all too well. He still has trouble talking about his PTSD.

“I really don't want to talk about the qualifying events,” he said.

Today, Sgt. Harper spoke to lawmakers about his PTSD. He said it happened over time.

“It comes with a huge stigma and particularly in law enforcement, cops don’t want to be seen as weak or less-than, or have a mental health issue," he said.

Sgt. Harper added he got help for his PTSD and was back on the job after treatment. But others may leave the job and never return if they're denied by workers’ compensation. 

Currently, the as the law stands, first responders can be denied workers' comp status because their jobs are inherently stressful. Basically, they've been told, “You signed up for this.”

Critics of the bill say this will open a “flood-gate,” since the bill applies to all workers, not just first responders. And the bill applies to “mental impairment,” not just PTSD.

“A lot of claims under the act are for stress, anxiety, those are mental impairments as well. Or could be,” said Kevin Bommer, Deputy Director of the Colorado Municipal League.


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