Every year since 2016, the South Carolina General Assembly has appropriated $500,000 to fund a groundbreaking program assisting first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder issues can significantly affect firefighters' and police officers' mental well being, whether they have witnessed horrific accidents or disturbing crimes, and the costs associated with the treatment of PTSD can be overwhelming.
The state-funded PTSD program provides an insurance policy for first responders that reimburses out-of-pocket treatment expenses, so officers and firefighters can focus on getting well without worrying about their healthcare bills. The total funding appropriated is evenly split between the SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program and the SC State Firefighters Association. This is a valuable plan, considering many health insurance policies cover mental health benefits at a lower rate than regular medical benefits.
With the PTSD program, firefighters and police officers can get the medical services needed to allow them to get back to their jobs. Connecting those whose jobs put them in contact with mental trauma with all available resources can help them so they can get back to a healthy life.
For anyone looking to connect first responders with this assistance, the best place to start is to contact the city's benefits coordinator or find out more about assistance for firefighters by contacting Zorrina Harmon of the SC State Firefighters Association at 803.454.1802. Learn more about assistance for police officers by contacting Eric Skidmore of the SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program at 803.252.2664.