Committee Advances Bipartisan, Bicameral Thompson Bill to Expand Mental Health Support for DHS Law Enforcement
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the below statement after bipartisan, bicameral legislation he introduced along with Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) to increase mental health resources for law enforcement personnel at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was advanced by the Committee. The DHS Suicide Prevention and Resiliency for Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 2577) 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.
“I am grateful that the Committee advanced legislation I introduced with Congressman Garbarino to establish a Department-wide mental health program at DHS for law enforcement. This bill, which was endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, National Border Patrol Council, and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, was introduced in the wake of Customs and Border Protection reporting 15 suicides within its ranks in 2022—the most since 2007. It focuses on making vital assistance available across DHS since, in 2020, the Government Accountability Office reported on largescale cases of extreme fatigue and mental health stress on the Transportation Security Administration’s Federal Air Marshals.”
“I look forward to the House considering this bipartisan legislation aimed at ensuring that life-saving resources are available to the men and women protecting the homeland in the very near future.”
This legislation would provide DHS with a comprehensive and targeted approach to support the mental health and wellness of law enforcement personnel at this critical Department. Specifically, it will establish a Law Enforcement Mental Health and Resiliency Program within DHS. The program will provide additional oversight, guidance, and resources to DHS components that perform law enforcement duties. The bill would also require DHS components to prioritize mental health, well-being, resilience, and suicide prevention programs and would require components assign a representative to the program to ensure the sharing of best practices and resources across the department. The bill would also require the review and revision of current policies to improve mental health and wellness programs and training and reduce the stigma of seeking mental health assistance.
This legislation has been endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union, National Border Patrol Council, Blue H.E.L.P., Concerns of Police Survivors, and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
Companion legislation has been introduced by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Josh Hawley (R-MO) in the Senate.
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Adam Comis at 202-225-9978
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