About The Code Green Campaign®
The Code Green Campaign® is a first responder oriented mental health advocacy and education organization. Also known as Code Green, we serve all types of first responders. This includes firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers, police, corrections, air medical, and search & rescue. Our name is a combination of the color for mental health awareness (green) and the “code alerts” used in emergency services. If someone is having a stroke or heart attack first responders will call a “code stroke” or “code STEMI”. The idea is that Code Green is calling a code alert on the mental health of first responders.
Bring awareness to the high rates of mental health issues in first responders and reduce them. Eliminate the stigma that prevents people from admitting these issues and asking for help. Educate first responders on self care and peer care and advocate for systemic change in how mental health issues are addressed by first responder agencies.
Our main goals as an organization are to improve mental wellness for first responders also to reduce barriers to accessing mental health care. We have multiple smaller goals that we focus on as part of fulfilling our larger organizational goals. Some of our more focused goals include:
- Reducing the stigma around talking about mental health issues.
- Providing education about the signs and symptoms of the mental health issues that first responders experience.
- Increasing access to culturally competent mental health resources.
- Reducing financial barriers to care.
- Reducing unnecessary organizational and operational stressors.
- Suicide prevention and postvention.
In March of 2014 one of our founders experienced the suicide death of a co-worker. In the days after she realized many of the first responders she knew had also lost friends and co-workers to suicide. A small group began discussing the stigma first responders face and what they could do about it. Code Green’s founders agreed that if there is one thing that first responders like to do it is tell stories. They felt that if first responders had an outlet to tell their stories anonymously that might reduce the stigma. This storytelling project evolved into The Code Green Campaign®.
In April of 2014 the Code Green Campaign® was granted nonprofit status in their home state of Washington. This was our first step towards becoming a federal 501(c)(3) organization. In December of 2014 the IRS approved Code Green’s application for federal non-profit status.
The response to Code Green was overwhelming. It quickly became apparent that there was an unmet need in the first responder community. Since 2014 Code Green has expanded its services based on the needs of the first responder community.
- Distributed over 150,000 mental health resource cards to providers.
- Collected over 700 stories to raise awareness and remind providers that no one is suffering alone.
- Educated tens of thousands first responders about mental health, resilience, and what mental health resources are available.
- We have a semi-regular column on EMS1, the largest EMS related news website.
- Increased reporting of public safety suicides by 100%, leading to a better understanding of the core issue
- Created a first-of-its-kind database of first responder oriented mental health resources.
- Provide peer support and crisis referral for hundreds of providers.
- Provide financial assistance to first responders who need help paying for mental health care.
- Presented mental health education at numerous conferences, education events, and agencies.