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Garcia Wilburn legislation to bolster first responder mental health passes out of committee

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Today, a bill authored by Rep. Victoria Garcia Wilburn (D-Fishers) to support first responder mental health passed out of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety by a vote of 11-0. House Bill 1321 will require annual in-service virtual training to all first responders, including the professions of law enforcement, full-time professional firefighters and EMS.

The training will address mental health and wellness and suicide prevention. This resource will not only preserve anonymity, but help deal with thoughts of suicide, trauma and other mental or emotional obstacles in order to reduce stress and anxiety. This is Garcia Wilburn's first piece of legislation to pass out of committee.

“I wanted to be a legislator so I could address the very real and enduring mental health struggles our first responders face,” Garcia Wilburn said. “I want all of our brave law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS personnel to know: 'You're not alone, and you can get help.' We have an ethical obligation to protect those who protect and serve us, and right now, our active law enforcement officers and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

“Thank you to my legislative colleagues for voting this bill out of committee so we can take another step toward making good on this promise. I am honored that my first bill passed out of committee is one in service of our first responders.”

Garcia Wilburn's bill now moves to the House floor for further consideration.

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