May 22, 2018
Mark Thomas
Code 9

On April 8 2003, Mark Thomas, attended a suicide as part of his policing duties and he was hit hard by the experience. Something was markedly different to any other incident that he had attended in the past but he failed to recognise and heed the subsequent warning signs.  

Nearly a decade later, Mark was hospitalised. During this period, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety. Whilst in hospital, Mark felt intensely alone.  Although he wasn't physically alone, the injury that he sustained would not allow that clear thought to take root, and the feeling of loneliness soared.

During the gradual recovery from his acute phase, Mark spent much time thinking about his stay in the hospital and the impact that the debilitating sense of loneliness had on his wellbeing.

Mark set himself the goal of creating a PTSD support group that would show to others in the same situation that they are not alone.  From the small beginnings of a Facebook group with 30 members, Code 9 has now expanded to a membership of over 2,000 emergency response personnel, including police, fire, ambulance and dispatchers 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 and is well on the way to being registered as a charity.