Whilst in hospital, I felt intensely alone. Although a part of my brain registered that I wasn't physically alone, the mental injury that I had sustained would not allow that clear thought to take root, and the feeling of loneliness soared.
During the gradual recovery from his acute phase, I spent much time thinking about my stay in the hospital and the impact that debilitating sense of loneliness had on my wellbeing.
I set myself the goal of creating a PTSD support group that would show to others in the same situation that they are not alone.
Once I completed my return-to-work program and resumed full time work in June 2015, I created the support group. From the small beginnings of a Facebook group with 30 members, Code 9 has now expanded to a membership of over 2,800 first responders, including police, fire, ambulance and "000" operators within the group.
With the amazing help of some highly dedicated people to administer Code 9, it has transitioned from a small single group of people meeting in Melbourne to multiple groups in regional and rural Victoria that meets in numerous locations, supporting hundreds of emergency services members.
In April 2018, we were registered as a charity with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission.
Our mission is:
To provide immediate emergency welfare to serving and veteran professional first responders and their family.
To provide support, advice and guidance to members in critical need of assistance.
To fund and coordinate the provision of assistance dogs to mentally injured first responders.
To supply meals to members in need, provide house cleaning, garden maintenance, grocery vouchers and other assistance as needed.
To send members and/or family away on much needed respite weekends.
(and lots more!!).