'Some of the things will stay with me for life'

A first time Queensland MP has opened up about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after serving as a soldier in Afghanistan.

Brent Mickelberg won the Sunshine Coast seat of Buderim for the Liberal National Party at the November election, taking it back from One Nation defector Steve Dickson.

Mr Mickelberg said he was left shattered by his experiences fighting in Afghanistan, after being deployed in 2012 by the Australian Defence Force as an infantryman.

He told of an incident where he had to dig his transport out of a bog while under threat from Taliban fighters, and said things he saw while on duty would stay with him for life.

The 36-year-old said on his return he became aggressive and hyper-vigilant, and experienced dark days where he thought about ending his life.

New Sunshine Coast LNP MPs Marty Hunt (Nicklin), Brent Mickelberg (Buderim), and Dan Purdie (Ninderry).
New Sunshine Coast LNP MPs Marty Hunt (Nicklin), Brent Mickelberg (Buderim), and Dan Purdie (Ninderry). Geoff Egan

He only got through with the help of his wife Anneliese.

"One afternoon she called in and cancelled her shift to stay by my side. In hindsight I know that decision saved me from doing something more drastic," an emotional Mr Mickelberg told parliament.

"It's incredibly difficult for me to tell my story in this place but I feel compelled to do so, not only to spread awareness about the dangers of PTSD ... but also because too few men are willing stand up and tell their story of their struggles with mental health."

Mr Mickelberg said he was inspired to go into politics to make the state a better place for his children, based around the values he learned in the army.

"I am here because I believe in putting my hand up to get the job done, rather than complaining from the sidelines."

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

News Corp Australia


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