By The Chicago Defender
To promote mental health care among law enforcement, state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, supported legislation to raise awareness of common mental health issues and implement officer training courses on improving mental wellness.
“Due to the routine exposure to traumatic events, many police officers struggle with mental health issues such as depression, burnout, and suicide,” said Slaughter. “Because of this, it is absolutely critical that our offices are aware of these mental health issues’ warning signs and the resources available to treat them.”
The Slaughter-backed House Bill 2767 requires the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board to update training courses to help improve mental wellness and self-care among officers. The training course will include information on how to identify and prevent mental health issues, substance abuse, suicide prevention and ways to help fellow officers who may be struggling. Officers will be required to pass the course during basic training and every three years afterward. The measure recently passed both the House and Senate with unanimous support and was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“Officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our families, and the least we can do to thank them is ensure that they have the resources they need to take care of themselves,” said Slaughter. “Mental health care must be taken more seriously, it is encouraging to see that our officers’ mental health is finally being treated as a priority.”
This article originally appeared in the Chicago Defender.