The Southwest Journal, a local newspaper in Southwest Minneapolis, recently reported on the development of a mindfulness and wellness program aimed at making Minneapolis cops “more compassionate” in response to the highly publicized shooting death of Minneapolis resident Justine Ruszczyk Damond. According to the article “before the end of the year, all 888 MPD officers will be required to take a three-hour training session designed to improve their health, wellness and sense of compassion”. When practiced regularly, mindfulness can be an effective tool with a lasting impact. The city is taking a step in the right direction by introducing mindfulness training and exercise, but should go a step further by incorporating it in an overall treatment plan to increase its effectiveness.
We represent dozens of police officers, firefighters and other first responders who have developed PTSD due to work-related traumatic exposures. PTSD is a serious, sometimes debilitating disorder, that can wreak havoc on a person’s family, social and work life. Fortunately, things can get better with time and treatment. The “best” type of treatment for PTSD varies from person to person and can be used individually or in combination with other treatment modalities.
Recently, the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (“WCCA”) heard a case involving PTSD and the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Act. Meuser Law Office Attorney Mary Beth Boyce brought a claim on behalf of her client, alleging that the employee developed post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) in the course and scope of his employment as a police officer, and as such was entitled to wage loss benefits, medical care and treatment, and rehabilitation services. The case proceeded to a formal hearing in front of a compensation judge in December of 2017. The compensation judge found in favor of employer and the insurer, denying that the employee suffered from PTSD.