In 2018, men accounted for 75 percent of deaths from suicide. An estimated 72 percent of males struggling with a mental disorder also don’t seek help.
It was these numbers, along with some first and second-hand experiences, that inspired Melbourne forward Mitch Hannan to make a change.
The classy left footer has joined forces with close mate Mark Losewitz to create ‘Mendl’, a social enterprise and clothing label, which aims to spark relevant conversations between men about mental health.
“I’ve dealt with some things personally and have also seen it’s prevalence throughout my network of family and close friends,” Hannan told Melbourne Media.
“Coupling this with the platform of fashion and clothing, as well as leveraging the strong network of the football industry, allows the brand to reach a wide range of men in Melbourne.
“It provided strong foundations for a label that will hopefully represent a movement for positive change.”
‘Mendl’ – an abbreviation for mending men’s mental health – is a non-for-profit organisation that will donate all funds to important charities working towards improving the state of men’s mental health.
This will also help create a greater awareness for what is a challenging and relevant issue in the community.
“We’d love for it to become a well recognised fashion label that people see in public and have the sense of a hidden handshake; a silent nod of recognition to a relevant social issue,” Hannan said.
“If people can recognise the logo or brand and subsequently understand the meaning behind it, then perhaps it can also be a platform for people to feel comfortable starting conversations.
“We want to create more open conversations about mental health, and see more men sit down and talk about things that a lot of the time, guys in previous years haven’t had the courage or felt comfortable doing.”
Hannan has high hopes for what his organisation can achieve, with the plan to donate to a number of relevant charities along the way.
“My vision for Mendl is to become a recognisable fashion label that is non-for-profit and directly supports known charities,” he said.
“We’re currently donating to a ‘Charity of the Month’, where the proceeds will change each month in terms of who we are donating to.
“For the month of December, it’s ‘Movember’, obviously being a well-known champion in the mental health sphere. We then foresee it being different charities moving forward.”
The 25-year-old is also looking to start ‘The Mendl Movement’, which will allow men to talk about their mental health experiences in a safe environment and inspire others to reach out for help.
“We plan on engaging a mixture of high profile and everyday men and sit down with them one-on-one for three or four minutes,” Hannan said.
“Rather than doing a podcast-length chat, it’ll be a brief snapshot of guys talking about mental health, bringing some light to the subject as a whole, and hopefully over time normalising it.
“This can then be shared via our website and through our socials to reiterate that the Mendl name stands for more than just clothing.”
Everyone deserves mental health support, and Hannan is incredibly passionate about helping others acquire just that.
And while it’s not an easy issue to tackle, the Demon, with his teammates by his side, is looking to get this message across.
“I’ve managed to get the support from people like Max Gawn, Neville Jetta, Josh Wagner and Sam Weideman,” Hannan said.
“They’ve all been quite open to the idea of supporting Mendl through both wearing the clothing and helping me out whenever they can.
“They’ve been fantastic close mates who have helped me not only get Mendl out there, but also provide support along the way.”
To pre-order some Mendl merchandise and help contribute to this great cause, visit https://mendl.com.au/.