From Pain to Purpose: 

The Power of Storytelling in PTSD Recovery


I tell my story because at the peak of my mental injury in February 2013, I reached such depths of darkness, that I know why people take their lives and I do not ever want you to know what that feeling is like.

My primary aim is to support, or even challenge your thinking and influence you or your group/team to live better, mentally healthier lives so you don't understand what it is like to walk in my shoes. 

Quite simply put, it is important to me that I use my experiences to help others.

I am not a victim, I am a post traumatic stress disorder survivor and have experienced enormous growth post trauma. My story is a hugely positive one and so much good to come out of my experiences. 

I strive to influence, motivate, educate and inspire people to prevent them going through, what I have, and continue to go through. I am vulnerable, I am raw.  


Mark delivered an exceptional presentation at the Vicarious Trauma Workshop. The great humanity, background and challenges he faced as a highly competent Victoria Police member, were conveyed honestly and openly to an audience of senior managers, detectives and analysts.

With enormous skill and empathy, he bravely recalled his own journey, affording those present with the insight, triggers and pitfalls of vicarious trauma and the challenges we face as police every day. In a brilliant, raw and brutally honest assessment into his own mental illness did he connect his vulnerability to everyone present. An exceptional presentation by an exceptional human being.

​Senior Sergeant Marty O'Donoghue

I thought Mark was quite brave in sharing his personal battles/stories with depression and anxiety and gave great advice on how to manage/live and overcome it. He was realistic about the topic and didn’t sugar coat anything, making you believe that you can just get over it and to seek help or speak about the issues as soon as you experience any changes within yourself or others arise.

​Joanna B


Telling my story is ultimately a very health thing to do. My first treating psychiatrist, mid way through a session whilst in hospital, told me that I was weird, but in a good way. She went on to explain that so many people that sit in your seat, refuse or cannot talk, but she cannot shut me up. 

I learnt early on that talking is a good thing. I figured that I had (and still have) poison within me and the best way to get that poison out, is to talk, which I have continued to do for the past 11 years. 

I have gone from sitting in a psych clinic, as an involuntary psych patient and not wanting to live, to transforming my pain into a purpose.

I live with PTSD, depression & anxiety.

It does not define who I am.

I present. I educate. I influence.

I motivate. I embrace vulnerability.

I challenge stigmas. I am flawed.

I make mistakes. I challenge.

I am me. 



Episode 41

Episode 176

(Discussing suicidal ideation)

Episode  795


The Age: Ground breaking scheme to fund mental health treatment for police, paramedics.

Herald-Sun: Ex-subbies stars go into bat for mental health.

Roll With The Punches TV

PTSD Awareness Day

Whilst in hospital, I felt intensely alone. Although a part of my brain registered that I wasn't physically alone, the mental injury that I had sustained would not allow that clear thought to take root, and the feeling of loneliness soared.

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

​I set myself the goal of creating a PTSD support group that would show to others in the same situation that they are not alone. 

Once I completed my return-to-work program and resumed full time work in June 2015, I created the support group. From the small humble beginnings of a Facebook group with 30 members, Code 9 has now expanded to a membership of over 3,200 professional first responders.

In April 2018, we registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profit Commission as a health promotion charity.