Statement from the PSFN Founding Advisory Committee Member Tom Kovach on COPS Counseling Act

November 5, 2021

Las Vegas, NV, 2021 –“Supporting the mental health and wellness of the law enforcement heroes who put their lives on the line every day is a top priority for the PSFN. We applaud Congress for passing, and President Biden for signing into law, the Confidentiality Opportunities for Peer Support (COPS) Counseling Act (S.1502). This much-needed legislation will promote law enforcement peer counseling programs in the U.S. and ensure that the information disclosed during these sessions remains confidential.

Despite regular exposure to extreme stress and tragedy, the mental well-being of police officers is often overlooked. According to NAMI, 1 in 4 police officers has had thoughts of suicide at some point in their life, and more officers die by suicide than in the line of duty. Peer counseling creates a unique space for first responders to interact with one another and receive support from those who understand their stress and anxiety—their fellow men and women of the badge.

This important legislation couldn’t be timelier, as millions of first responders across the U.S. continue to serve on the frontlines of an unprecedented pandemic. The PSFN is very focused on supporting mental health initiatives and encourages foundations to help police departments assess their mental health programs. We look forward to learning more about how the PSFN member foundations are supporting the mental health of our front-line heroes at our first annual conference, where we bring together public safety foundations across North America to share best practices.”

More details about the bipartisan legislation can be found in this article.

The Public Safety Foundation Network (PSFN) is a coalition of nonprofits that supports the work of first responder agencies, including police, fire, and EMS, by providing resources that make first responders more effective within their communities. By serving those who serve us, we make communities across North America stronger and safer. Visit us at publicsafetyfoundations.com 

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