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Posted on: April 2, 2018

Local first responders applaud new coverage for mental health benefits

FMFD Chief Caufield

Fort Myers, FL (Apr. 2, 2018) - Local first responders joined Fort Myers Fire Chief John Caufield, Florida Chief Financial Officer/State Fire Marshall Jimmy Patronis and Southwest Florida elected officials this morning at Fort Myers Fire Department Fire Station 1 to commemorate the signing of Senate Bill 376, which allows first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to access mental health benefits available through the Florida workers’ compensation system.

In addition, Sanibel Island firefighter Rob Popkin and City of Fort Myers police officer Steve Gruber shared their firsthand accounts of PTSD and the importance of having access to mental health providers. Both emphasized how finding the right provider and getting appropriate treatment helped them navigate this potentially devistating disease.

"We commend Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for passing this significant new law," remarked Chief Caufield. "Many first responders struggle with after effects of their job and don't realize the emotional toll can accumulate over time. Having access to the right healthcare professionals is critical for the wellbeing of not only the affected person, but to their families, friends and coworkers, and in certain cases it can save a life."

 For more information contact Stephanie Schaffer at 239-321-7157 or email sschaffer@cityftmyers.com.

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