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Friday, June 21st, 2024

Senate advances legislation supporting DHS law enforcement personnel mental health resources

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The U.S. Senate recently advanced a bill increasing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) law enforcement personnel mental health resources.

The DHS Suicide Prevention and Resiliency for Law Enforcement Act authored Sens. Gary Peters (D-MI) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) would create the DHS Law Enforcement Mental Health and Resiliency Program to oversee and streamline the delivery of enhanced mental health and wellness services for DHS law enforcement officers and agents.

The legislation was approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

“Congress must ensure that law enforcement officers and agents at the Department of Homeland Security have the support they need to carry out their challenging missions,” Peters, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, said. “This common sense, bipartisan bill will ensure these dedicated law enforcement professionals have the mental health resources they need so they can effectively protect our communities.”

The legislation would provide DHS with a comprehensive and targeted approach to support the mental health and wellness of law enforcement personnel while also requiring the agency to prioritize mental health, well-being, resilience, and suicide prevention programs.

“I am proud to introduce the DHS Suicide Prevention and Resiliency for Law Enforcement Act alongside Chairman Gary Peters,” Hawley said. “This legislation aims to prevent the growing number of suicides among law enforcement personnel, many of whom bravely serve at our southern border.”

U.S. Reps. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) are leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.