Joe Donnelly, Todd Young advocate for law enforcement mental health bill

INDIANAPOLIS – Two Indiana senators addressed the importance of mental health within law enforcement and proposed a bill that would equip police officers with more support Monday.

Sens. Joe Donnelly (D) and Todd Young (R) teamed up to speak on the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act – a bill that would direct the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services to develop more mental health resources for officers.

The senators used IMPD as a model for legislation, since the department already has a mental health program for officers.

RELATED | IMPD aims to protect officers' mental health with wellness program |

Donnelly hopes if the bill passes, other law enforcement agencies around the state will implement similar programs.

“It enables them to learn off IMPD and their experiences. The things they've seen and to take those experiences and to spread them throughout the entire country," he said.

Travis Owens, IMPD officer, said the Indianapolis program was a handy resource for him when he lost his leg 2001.

"I have severe anxiety, depression and PTSD. I am willing to be here today to tell my story,” said Owens. "It's hard to turn off the job. If you're going through personal issues at home, or you had a bad day at work, it's extremely hard to turn that off -- quite honestly, it's impossible."

RELATED | IMPD officer details mental health struggles after injury, amputation

Young said he wants the bill to help officers step forward and receive help without the worry of being viewed as “weak.”

 

"Sometimes the challenge is making sure the members of law enforcement who pride themselves in their valor, in their courage, are speaking up and we want to encourage them to speak up," said Young.

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