Julie Scollary is lacing up her hiking boots, preparing to take on life's next challenge.
To raise enough funds to afford two assistance dogs for emergency service members suffering from PTSD.
In June, Ms Scollary and a combination of ex-paramedics, policemen and community members will walk a section of the Larapinta Track in the Northern Territory.
The 80 kilometre hike will take a week to complete, and all proceeds raised will go to the Code 9 foundation.
The foundation provides a place of support for current and veteran professional first responders and 000 operators who live with PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions that result from their service to the community.
As a former paramedic, Ms Scollary has dealt with her fair share of trauma - ultimately requiring her to check into a mental health facility.
"When I did time in a mental health facility in 2005 and 2006 there was no support and I was there on my own, I never saw anyone - I had no support from work," she said.
But Ms Scollary said now more than ever, people needed to be aware of the mental toll service takes on first responders.
"We're hearing countless stories of total burnout, depression, anxiety and people breaking down on the job," Ms Scollary said.
"They're just not coping with the sheer demand."
Code 9 has been hearing reports of emergency workers so overcome with guilt, they're avoiding social outings.
"The whole guilt around not wanting to socialise is very real," she said "because if they fall sick then the community is in shortage."
"People are hesitant to ask for assistance or to put up their hand and say they're struggling, because to go through the process is often a work-cover process and there are so many hurdles to jump through.
"I think the community needs to be more aware, our politicians need to be more aware, but the organisation needs to continue its awareness of mental health and caring for its workforce."
A key element of Code 9's support for individuals with PTSD is providing assistance dogs to ex-service members.
One of these members is former police officer Pat Daly, who suffered a serious spinal injury after an offender rammed into his patrol car in 2014.
These days, thanks to Code 9, Mr Daly's assistance dog, Lucy, helps him navigate the trauma of the incident.
However, Ms Scollary said the assistance dogs are no cheap fix.
"It's so expensive to train an assistance dog, anywhere between 35 and 40 thousand dollars," she said.
"But those dogs have saved a number of our members' lives, so they're really important aspects."
The hiking group are hoping to raise enough to fund two assistance dogs for Code 9 members.
While the team are excited for the hike, Ms Scollary said the best thing about the event is the people they can share their stories with.
"The best thing out of it is that we get to talk to people and raise awareness," Ms Scollary said.
"At the moment, it's an ongoing saga, the general population is talking about mental health so much more now which is huge.
"It's great we can be a part of that conversation."
You can read more about the trek and donate here.
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