CONFIDENTIALITY OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

By Bob Katzen

Governor Baker held a ceremonial event to sign legislation ensuring confidentiality for first responders who seek mental health services from a peer counselor. Prior law did not guarantee confidentiality.

“Providing law enforcement officers with the ability to confidentially seek guidance from their peers will help them cope with the events they experience in the line of duty,” said Gov. Baker. “We are thankful for the Legislature and law enforcement for their advocacy on this bill to increase support for services and reduce stigma around mental health issues.”

“This is common sense legislation that will offer law enforcement officers, firefighter, and emergency service providers the resources they need to debrief and manage the psychological impact following an incident,” said Rep. Ed Coppinger (D-Boston), the House sponsor of the bill. “Critical incident intervention is a peer-to-peer resource in which registered and trained emergency service providers offer consultation, counseling, and stress management. This peer support is the first, necessary step in checking the stress health of an emergency service provider and it can often bridge the gap if further help is required.”

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