COLORADO SPRINGS — Local organizations are teaming up offer first responders free mental health resources, so they can heal as they heal those around them.
The Pikes Peak United Way's emergency relief fund is covering counseling sessions for them to talk to someone who can help, much in the same way they've been helping folks in our community.
"We are grateful that some of this money is going to help our front-line workers, their mental health important is so important," said Annie Snead, spokesperson for Pikes Peak United Way.
This emergency relief fund was established in collaboration with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and the Office of Emergency Management during the Waldo Canyon fire of 2012 as a way to support first responders. The counseling itself is provided by Status Code 4, a nonprofit that specializes in offering PTSD therapy for first responders.
"[First responders] have issues that they're having to deal with with the the new protocols, on how they have to treat patients, and the skills that they're allowed to do, and what they're not allowed to do," explained Daniel Crampton, who founded Status Code 4 with his wife, Ann Rush Crampton. "So some of them are having some kind of moral issues with some of the the stuff that they have to do."
And while they face issues at work, they're also thinking about how to protect their loved ones at home.
"There is also the fear of bringing the COVID virus to their household which they didn't have that fear before," Ann Rush Crampton said.
But thanks to this emergency funding, counselors can help guide them and reach them wherever they need.
"We can turn most of our services online, we do smart recovery groups [and] we have those online through the the Webex and Zoom," Daniel added.
Their goal is to get these first responders and their families to a place where everything is all right, known to dispatchers as a "Code 4." Hence, the name: Status Code 4.
"[First responders] are doing such critical work on the front lines and everything, and we are able to be that safety-net behind them," Ann emphasized. "So that they have a safe place to unpack their stuff."
If you are a first responder, Status Code 4 wants you to know this help is available to you, and you don't have to cope with stress alone.
To connect with a counselor immediately, you can text the word "Badge" to 741741 or to reach out to Status Code 4 directly, you can call (719) 822-3387 or visit their website at https://www.sc4i.org/