When Mark Brosnan was attacked by a client wielding a knife, it put an end to his career well before time. The married father of three had spent years working with people with a disability but the incident, 12 years ago, left him with scars that were more than skin deep.
“For several reasons, I always worked with the most violent and difficult clients,” says Mark.
“Because of the attack, I was diagnosed with PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] with acute anxiety and severe depression. I was quickly advised to never go back to the disability field.”
Mark began working in the public service but describes the experience as “like forcing a round peg into a square hole”. He broke down and tried to take his life.
But he survived and found solace as a radio announcer with a community radio station in Canberra.
Now, Mark and his “most beautiful wife a man could hope for”, Meredith, have started a podcast called Shattered with a very real message about putting the pieces back together.
Meredith tells Region Media that Shattered is far from being just another podcast. After three months, it is already making a mark with a growing audience and a message about shattering the myths of mental health in Canberra.
“Psychiatrists in Canberra are all booked out,” she says. “Mark and I are also part of some local Facebook groups for mental health and anxiety, and just seeing the things people are going through is heartbreaking to say the least.”
The podcast is by no means trying to solve people’s problems, but it is providing a platform they say is relatable for sufferers and carers of people with mental health problems.
“Not all people with mental health issues feel they can call someone to reach out to so we think putting up platforms that people can be a part of is more important now than ever,” says Meredith.
Each Monday, a new Shattered podcast drops and already Meredith says it’s given her husband a new lease on life. With the support of YMCA chief executive Torrien Lau as the podcast’s executive producer, the team is here for the long haul to have some hard discussions on topics that may have once been considered taboo.
The most recent podcast, on 15 March, talks about Mark’s father and grandfather, who both served in the Vietnam War. Mark’s brother served with the military in Afghanistan, but that’s another story altogether.
“We also want to reach out to women’s groups to do a series on their issues here in Canberra,” says Meredith. “We want to look at a series on teenagers and discuss issues such as social isolation, bullying and self-harm.
“The role of a carer of someone with a mental illness has also been neglected.
“We really want to be a voice for people who are sitting at home and suffering in silence.”
You can find out more on the Shattered podcast website and via its social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The podcast is also on hosting platforms such as Spotify, SoundCloud and iTunes.
If you or someone you know needs help, Lifeline’s 24/7 crisis support service can be reached on 13 11 14. In an emergency, call triple zero (000).