Sen. Hastings

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Michael E. Hastings passed a measure to ensure municipal and county first responders receive free mental health insurance coverage.

“We owe it to these brave individuals to provide them with the support and resources they need to heal and recover from the daily trauma they continuously endure in the line of duty,” said Hastings (D-Frankfort). “It is not only morally imperative but also cost effective. By addressing mental health issues early on, we can prevent more serious and costly consequences down the line.”

Senate Bill 3538 would require any self-insured county or municipality that provides health insurance coverage to first responders to include mental health counseling coverage without imposing any cost-sharing requirements on patients.

Hastings believes that untreated mental health conditions can lead to increase absenteeism, reduced productivity and higher rates of turnover among first responders.

"First Responders" are classified as any police, corrections officers, deputy sheriffs, firefighters, or emergency medical services personnel that are employed by local government entities, which would include counties and townships.

“By providing cost-free mental health treatment, we can ensure that our first responders are able to continue to serve our communities in an effective and safe manner,” said Hastings. “This legislation emphasizes our investment in the well-being of our first responders, their families and our communities as a whole.”

State Representative Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar is the sponsor of this initiative in the House.

Senate Bill 3538 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and is now in the House for further consideration.