After having been passed by the House back in November and then finally by the Senate on Tuesday (1/9/18), the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act was signed into law by President Trump on Wednesday, January 10th.
Among other attributes and effects of the law, it makes funding (via grants) available for peer mentoring pilot programs, provides funding for studies looking at the actual value/impact of crisis hotlines and annual mental health checks.
The bill was proposed in a bipartisan effort by Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) and Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana). The law directs the Department of Justice in conjunction with Health & Human Services to develop resources for mental health providers based on the specific mental health challenges faced by law enforcement officers.
“I think it can help our police officers. the men and women in blue, brown or green when they have a mental health challenges that there will be somebody to talk too,” said Sen. Donnelly. “This legislation will make sure that our officers can be able to be part of a peer program basically where other Fort Wayne officers can help them and other Allen county officers can help them.”
The law which enjoyed broad support from multiple law enforcement professional and peer organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police, the National Association of Police Officers, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and others, also directs the Departments of Defense, Justice and Veterans Affairs to communicate about existing DoD and VA mental health practices and services that might be of value if shared with, and adopted by, law enforcement agencies.