Mitch Hannan – AFL Player & Men’s Mental Health Advocate
- 5 October 2020
- Posted by: GIANNA LUCAS
- Category: Podcasts
AFL Finals fever is upon us! Now whether you’re a footy fan or not, it’s a time where loads of Aussies come together and celebrate sport and community across the country! And if you’re in Victoria, you even get a public holiday every year, right before the Grand Final!
This year’s footy season, like everything else, hasn’t quite gone to plan. The season had a few stop-start moments, which in the end led to the creation of an AFL hub up in sunny Queensland.
Just before the BIG move to Queensland took place, Gianna had the opportunity of chatting with an AFL player who’s on a mission to create a better world when it comes to men’s mental health. This guy is an absolute legend and SO authentic.
So on that, we’re so excited to introduce you to this week’s guest on Power Up Life, AFL Player, and number 19 for the Melbourne Football Club, Mitch Hannan. As well as being an AFL player, Mitch is also the Co-Founder of Mendl, a lifestyle brand with all profits from their apparel going to men’s mental health charities.
On top of this week’s awesome challenge, Mitch and Gianna talk about:
- His childhood – growing up on an acreage with his family, his love for gymnastics, and footy.
- His world during high school and uni before his professional footy career began!
- Why he co-founded his social enterprise Mendl and his BIG goals for it.
- His mission to break down stigmas in the AFL world, especially being a heavily dominated male industry.
- The pressures that come with being a professional athlete and a public figure.
- The effects of social media on mental health and his advice.
- Mitch also opens up about his battle with anxiety and how it’s made him who he is today.
Also, a quick content warning on this episode, as we cover a range of mental health issues. Listener discretion is advised. If you do need someone to talk to, you can always ring the wonderful people at Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
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Host: Co-Founder/CEO Happow, Gianna Lucas
Producers: Gianna Lucas, Marija Dukadinovska, Carissa Shale
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Speaker 1: Three, two, one.
Speaker 2: I’m not just happy, I’m Happow.
Gianna Lucas: This is Power Up Life, the podcast. I’m your host, Gianna Lucas, co- founder and CEO at Happow, the social enterprise that powers this podcast. We help you slay life in high school, uni and beyond, Each week on the show, you’ll learn epic life skills in a super chill way here from well known legends as they reveal the biggest setbacks and milestones to date, and you’ll find out what our Happow squad think about a whole stack of topics too, from epic challenges to super raw moments. This show has it all. So let’s power up life.
The AFL final season is upon us. Now whether you’re a footy fan or not, it’s a time where loads of Aussies come together. Well, at least out of COVID, and celebrate sport and community across the country. And if you’re in Victoria, you even get a public holiday every year right before the grand final. Now I’m in Victoria, so yay. This year’s footy season like everything else hasn’t quite gone to plan.
The season had a few stop start moments along the way, which in the end led to the creation of an AFL hub up in sunny Queensland. Now just before the big move to Queensland took place, I had the opportunity of chatting with an AFL player who’s on a mission to create a better world when it comes to men’s mental health. This guy is an absolute legend and is so authentic. So on that, I’m excited to introduce you to this week’s guest on Power Up Life, AFL player and number 19 for the Melbourne Football Club, Mitch Hannan.
As well as being an NFL player, Mitch is also the co- founder of Mendl, a lifestyle brand with all profits from their apparel going to men’s mental health charities. Amazing, right? Now on top of this week’s awesome challenge, which is pick your peel up by the way, Mitch and I talk about his childhood growing up on acreage with his family, his love for gymnastics and footy, his world during high school and uni before his professional footy career began, why he co- founded his social enterprise, Mendl, and his big goals for it. His mission to break down stigmas in the AFL world, especially being a heavily dominated male industry.
The pressures that come with being a professional athlete and public figure, the effects of social media on mental health and he’s advice, which is awesome by the way. And Mitch even opens up about his long battle with anxiety and how its made him who he is today. And let me tell you, you are going to love this convo. It’s amazing. He’s phenomenal.
Also a quick content warning on this episode, as we talk about a range of mental health issues, listener discretion is advised. And if you do need someone to talk to, you can always ring the wonderful people at lifeline on 131114, or kids helpline on 1800 55 1800. Now that’s out of the way, let’s power up life. Nice seeing you Mitch.
Mitch Hannan: Thank you very much. Thanks very much for having me.
Gianna Lucas: Full disclosure, I have indirectly become a Melbourne Football Club fan because of my husband, Brendan, who has been diehard since he was born. He’s been a member of Melbourne Football Club for about 17 years. And I thought over the last decade, being with him have seen the peaks and the troughs with Melbourne Football Club, but I’ve grown to love the team. And I think you’re very fortunate to have some pretty awesome teammates in the club.
Mitch Hannan: Glad to hear number one, that you’re a Melbourne supporter now. We need all the support we can get coming off of the year we had last year, but now we’re definitely looking forward to the year ahead, even though it’s probably not going to be the typical year of football that everyone likes to see. Good to have as many supporters on board as we can.
Gianna Lucas: I couldn’t agree more. It’s actually a lot of fun. I go to quite a few games or have been in the past. It’s electric and there’s a beautiful community within the Melbourne Football Club supporters. And I’ve learnt so much about the history of the club. And I think someone who I look up to, especially because of the work that he’s done in the youth space and The Reach Foundation of course, is the late Jim Stynes. What an incredible guy you had for many years backing the club and obviously playing for the club as well. It’s wonderful you’ve had that.
Mitch Hannan: It is. He’s (inaudible) we’ve got a small supporter base compared to some of the other bigger clubs, but we’ve got quite a proud supporter base carrying the name of the city as our club name. People like Jim, who lived our values and we’re very happy to just draw upon his thoughts and feelings and things that he said and try and carry that out through the footy club.
Gianna Lucas: I would love to ask you a question that I guess, many Melbourne supporters, but general footy supporters are asking is how are you the players coping with the craziness of COVID- 19 and knowing are we starting, are we stopping? When are we playing? When’s the season starting? I understand that training has commenced recently. So how do you feel about all of that? I guess you’ve got more information than what we do, but I’m guessing you have to really stick together as teammates just to get yourselves through this time.
Mitch Hannan: We definitely do. We’re at a position now where we’re back training. We’re training in small groups and we try to do everything we can to get this season started because it’s in our best interests and also the interest of the (inaudible) community to have (inaudible) back, because it’s such a loved thing by fans and family and obviously us playing it. So we need to, I guess, abide by a separate set of rules to the general public and still remain on a level of lockdown and responsibility to keep ourselves fit and healthy so that we can provide that service to the community. So we’re back training and we’re looking at getting back playing in a few weeks. So it’s exciting. It’s trending in the right direction.
Gianna Lucas: It’s your reason. I think I heard not too long ago that they’re thinking of potentially doing a night grand final, which would be super cool. Did you hear about that?
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) . You’re one step ahead of me.
Gianna Lucas: Oh my goodness.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) I’m not normally up to speed with some of the media. So (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: I think it was Eddie McGuire saying it. So whether it’s official or not obviously, like he was basically saying it looks it will be. I could be way off. Maybe I dreamt it, but I think to be honest with you, if it is a night grand final, I don’t think it makes too much difference. In fact, I think it would actually be amazing to have a night game as a final anyway.
Mitch Hannan: I love it. I love the idea of change and we’re obviously going through a period of change (inaudible) . So we’ve had to play with no crowds and so forth. So the idea of playing at night for the final game of the year, it sounds pretty awesome to me.
Gianna Lucas: Agreed. So I’d love to ask, you’re an incredible footballer, and there is one video that I have seen again and again, and again, probably forced upon me, I’ll be honest from Brendan. And it was the 2018 game between Melbourne and Geelong. And it was the final round before I think finals. And it was basically that Geelong or Melbourne was going to make it. And then basically just in the last few seconds, you come running out of nowhere with the footy and you end up kicking it and you end up getting a goal. You scored obviously the final six points and the crowd went absolutely electric, including Brendan. And I guess you’re known for being the guy who saved the day. How does it feel being such a superhero and having such a legacy behind you, especially in that moment?
Mitch Hannan: I definitely wouldn’t call it superhero material. It’s something I’m very proud to have happened and thankful to be a part of. It was one of Melbourne’s first (inaudible) some time. And so I know that from the previous history, like your husband would know, Melbourne’s gone through some tough times finding themselves at the bottom of the ladder and it’s not having a lot of success.
So to be a part of that team that brought a lot of joy to the fans and also be a part of that moment towards the end of the game, which helped us seal the game is something that I’m… it’s just happenstance. During the moment you don’t really know, you’re just playing footy. You’re full of adrenaline, you’re in the zone and you don’t really think about the bigger scheme of things, but looking back on it, it’s obviously one of the highlights of my career. So it’s great to reflect on every now and then.
Gianna Lucas: It is. It definitely is. Congratulations. But I think going back to much younger Mitch, I did some Googling and well, you used to live an hour away from Melbourne in Brisbane. So it’s Western area of Melbourne. Isn’t it?
Mitch Hannan: Yeah. Northwest.
Gianna Lucas: Northwest?
Mitch Hannan: Yeah. Hours drive out of the CBD, northwest in the Macedon Ranges. I don’t know if you’d call it exactly country, but it’s enough to have a few acres of land out there and feel a little bit excluded from the city. So definitely a beautiful part of the world to grow up in.
Gianna Lucas: What was life for you growing up in Gibson? You said there was obviously a lot more land compared to the small blocks that we have closer to the CBD. Was that something that you absolutely just love growing up and having that space just to run around? What was life like for you as a teenage Mitch?
Mitch Hannan: So I’ve got three sisters. I have a twin sister and a younger sister. So they were thankfully enough quite active women as well in terms of their sporting prowess. They were happy to kick the footy every now and then, or go out for runs and so forth. And I was lucky enough to grow up very close to a footy oval, as well as having a little bit of land around me. But I guess when you’re at a young age like that, you take it for granted really. I didn’t know much about the city life and it was very much cooped up out there, just enjoying playing local football and going to high school and playing all different types of sports ranging from, I started off with gymnastics, actually, that was my first-
Gianna Lucas: What? Hang on. Stop. Gymnastics. Get out of town.
Mitch Hannan: It’s one of the most bizarre things I’ve done, but I love to go back and reflect on it because it was a fun few years. I did it from about the age of eight to 13. So five or six years. Funny story, actually, I ended up just giving it the boot purely because I didn’t want to go to high school saying I did gymnastics, even though I was loving it. That was my first real sporting venture. And then from there, like most active kids, (inaudible) athletics, cross country, which were all good fun and readily available out in the country. And whether it be at a sporting club or on your own accord, just on the land that we had out there. So that was definitely something I was very grateful for.
Gianna Lucas: How was it when you decided that you had a love for footy particularly, because obviously it’s what you’re a professional footballer. Was it something that you just went, I’m really, really good at this? Like did someone say, hey mate, you’re good at footy, you should go professional? How does that whole process work?
Mitch Hannan: Probably a bit of a backwards journey compared to some guys that find themselves in the professional field. I just grew up playing for footy. I was always quite good at it, but I kind of in the physical sense, grew very light. So I went through a lot of my junior career sitting around the middle of the pack as I was a few inches shorter and a few kilos lighter than all of my mates. And I battled with that a little bit through my high school years until I didn’t really have my growth spurt until I was in about the end of year 12, really. The idea of professional football or professional sport in general was never really on my radar because I was never really applying at that level, just due to my physical size.
Gianna Lucas: But hang on, just to interrupt you there. I know footballers come in all shapes and sizes. Like you got your tall ones and then you’ve got your short ones. Don’t you need a spectrum so you can get over the top and under people? Like isn’t that what they want?
Mitch Hannan: I know what you mean. I probably would’ve fit the mold to be a small forward at that time, but I hadn’t really physically had my growth spurt while going through puberty. So I didn’t really have the muscle or the physical size to compete with guys that were my age at that time, to put myself on the radar to getting drafted. So to me, that process happened a lot later. I just had to carry on playing football or sport in general (inaudible) purely for enjoyment, carried on with schooling, managed to go to uni for a few years.
Gianna Lucas: What did you study?
Mitch Hannan: I did a course in architectural drafting.
Gianna Lucas: Another surprise again from say gymnastics to architecture to AFL. So that’s super cool. Did you end up finishing?
Mitch Hannan: I did that (inaudible) and I finished that course and then actually started working full- time for about seven or eight months before footy took over and (inaudible) a full- time role with Melbourne.
Gianna Lucas: Epic. What a cool story.
Mitch Hannan: There was a few ups and downs in there. That’s for sure.
Gianna Lucas: And I guess now you’re a bit of an entrepreneur too, because you’ve obviously created with your co- founder, Mendl, which is a lifestyle brand that sells apparel, and all profits made from all your tops that are sold, go to support men’s mental health charities, especially those based in Melbourne. Firstly, can I just say that is so wonderful that you’ve created this. I think it’s so needed. But I imagine though that this was created for a reason and that you felt very much called to be a part of men’s mental health movement. Can you tell us a little bit about your journey with mental health as well, because you’ve even said before, there’s been a lot of ups and downs in your own world.
Mitch Hannan: Mental health is something that I’ve always been very passionate about and that comes from a mixture of some first and second hand experiences with it. For me, I’ve gone through my own personal battles with mainly around the ideas of some anxiety of life that started from the about the age of 20. And for me it happened on and off through that period. And it wasn’t till about 2017 and 2018 where things probably got to their worst and we can touch on that later if you.
But after overcoming that, that period, I recognized it as something that needed to be a priority in my life. One of the hardest things I found at that time was just having conversations in general and admitting to myself that I wasn’t feeling quite right. And then following that, admitting it to my family and friends. I just wanted to, once I found myself in quite a good head space, I just wanted to try and relish the opportunities that I have at the moment, being in the AFL world with some good connections and a financial position, to be able to create something which I enjoy for one, which is fashion and apparel, and then try and create that into some movement towards mental health awareness and (inaudible) conversations amongst men my age.
Gianna Lucas: I’m almost speechless. I’m never speechless. I often talk too much, but I just I’m so taken aback by your sincerity. And I know no one can see right now, because this is a podcast, but I can just say how genuine you are on this call. And it’s such a privilege to speak with you. And no doubt that Mendl is going to do extraordinary things as it grows in future. And what I love about what you said was you have capacity and you’ve decided to give back. And that is something if each and every human did that on this planet, it doesn’t matter how big or small, it doesn’t matter what your capacity is. If we decided to be selfless and go, you know what, I, because of my skillset or the time that I have, or the money that I have, I can actually invest and change someone’s life. Then this world would be a beautiful place to live in.
And thank you so much for doing your part. And I do want to ask you a little bit about your journey. But before I do, I think one of the most incredible things through Mendl is that you’re allowing conversations to be had. And I’m obviously not a footballer. I’m not a part of the AFL world. But for me in the circles I move in and especially with creating Happow, we are trying to break down stigmas that are out there.
We’re trying to increase conversations and build trust and really positive communication amongst young people, amongst families, amongst teachers, you name it. Can you tell us a little bit about the footy world? Have you seen in the last few years that you’ve been in this world, have you noticed that communication around mental health is improving? How do you guys talk to each other if you’re not having the best day able to say, I’ve just… how do you do that? Especially because I’ve always known as footy to be a man’s game. You’ve got to always be strong. You can’t tell people how you feel. Is that still around?
Mitch Hannan: Look, to be honest, there’s probably an element of it that’s still there. And that’s a lot of what I’m trying to create with Mendl and help to break that down. But it’s definitely without saying that it’s a changing environment currently right now. It’s trending the idea of being open and honest and being able to express your feelings, even in a heavily male dominated industry like the AFL world is.
It’s great for it to say I’m sure that there’s similar circumstances to people out there in the business world who are probably internalizing things and struggling to have some of these conversations, but from a football world, which is what I’m in currently, it probably starts from the top, which is some of the leaders amongst the group, but also the coaching staff to implement this idea of openness and being connected.
They’re trying to create an environment where guys can be vulnerable, open up, have some of these conversations, which you get to understand your teammates a little bit better, or you can discuss some of the things that you might not otherwise do. Could create an environment which is a little bit more forgiving and understanding of what people might be going through behind closed doors.
Gianna Lucas: And I’m so glad to hear that it is changing. And I think COVID- 19, we’re probably, I imagine advanced that more because a lot of people are asking more questions. You’re not able to see each other all the time. So you’re wondering how is so and so going at home, how are they feeling, especially, are they living on their own or are they living with housemates or living with family? So I think, I’m so glad to hear that, that stigma is going away. That’s wonderful.
Mitch, social media is a big part of our worlds. If a young person is listening right now, what would be some words of wisdom you can share with them when they’re getting overwhelmed by that (inaudible) all the time and be seen in a particular way, what would you say to them if they’re feeling overwhelmed by that?
Mitch Hannan: I feel like social media itself plays an important role in the sense that we obviously everyone, majority of us use it just to connect with the people around us, and including that is like your close family and friends who you do want to see what they’re doing and comment on and likewise show some of your own photos and experiences and so forth. But I feel there’s this other element to it where there’s people follow someone that they look up to, which a lot of what they maybe posting is I guess, a false sense of reality.
And people begin to say that over and over again and compare and want to have and so forth. So I guess what I’d say to someone, if they’re finding themselves in a head space that they’re not so happy with or they’re struggling, to try and distance themselves from people that they’re not that close with, because it is very easy to fall into this cycle of seeing what other people have and seeing what other people are doing and comparing it to where your life sits and it’s not marrying up.
I would never tell people to completely go off social media, but that’s always an option just to step away and give yourself a break. But more so just stick to those or the followings of those that you care about or are close to, because that’ll best resemble the life you probably want to leave.
Gianna Lucas: I think sometimes taking time out to detox from social media isn’t a bad thing. Whether you just hide your account or you turn off your notifications, it can make all the difference.
Mitch Hannan: It definitely can. I’ve definitely done it myself in the past. It’s very easy to just get wrapped up in your phone, but every now and then everyone needs to step back and have a look at life as a whole. And I’m sure people would probably do that with what’s going on with COVID at the moment. They’ve got so much time on their hands and they’ve been able to step back and have a look at what’s important. And a part of that is probably figuring out what in your life you probably should be doing rather than staring at your phone. A digital detox is definitely something that I would recommend.
Gianna Lucas: So do I. And I think you raised something just very quickly there and you said, looking at the world around you because the world in our phone is small. This is just me speaking metaphorically, it’s nice and small. But if you look up the world or actually the physical world around us is amazing. And I think sometimes we’re looking down all the time. We’re not looking up enough. I’ll go for walks and I’ll bring my phone with me and sometimes I’ll flick through my phone, no, Gianna, naughty. You know what I mean? Look around you, look at nature. You know what I mean? Look at the houses, obviously don’t stare into people’s windows, but look at where you’re walking, not always down at your phone. I fall into that trap too. So I think there’s some sound advice there.
Mitch Hannan: I’ve actually done that recently. Like I said, I’ve been walking the town a little bit more regularly and I’ve made a point doing it with my housemate and we don’t take our phones. We just have a chat in general, but it’s amazing how much you observe and just become a little bit more present when you haven’t got that phone vibrating and you can’t look at it. I’m not going to lie, the first few walks were hard because I was like, “I wonder what that person said to that text or (inaudible) ,” and then you begin to look forward to it. So I think it worked well.
Gianna Lucas: And the person’s going to still be there at the end of the line. You know what I mean? If you miss a call, just ring them back, text them later. And now a little bit about your journey, can you touch on that and how you said that in, I think you said 2017, 2018 things were going a bit haywire in your world.
Mitch Hannan: So I know that upon reflection, some of the things that were going on in my life were far from catastrophic. They weren’t nothing really bad had happened. It was probably just a combination of things brought me to feeling this overwhelming feeling of anxiety really. I had my partner at the time who I’d been with for six, seven years, we’d fallen apart. My parents fall apart as well. I’d moved out of home, which was just racing in the free world. And then I had the pressures of the footy world itself, where you battling with the idea of selection, finding a spot in the team, working out what you might want to do life after footy as well, and it all came together as I get, like I said, if you break them down individually, those are just things that happened through the course of life and you can understand the process and then deal with them.
But for me, I found myself in this head space which I was unfamiliar for me and it was spiraling dramatically to a point where I was just really struggling to cope as a human. I was struggling to function in the sense that my slate was getting disrupted, my eating patterns. And as you can imagine being a footballer, they’re two very vital things to even be able to go out there and function. Like you can (inaudible) some of these things behind closed doors, maybe in the working world and it can be a little bit less sane, but for me it was quite evident that the way I was feeling was going to be found out soon enough. So I just felt like I needed to reach out before things got any worse really. I was already trying to hide things as best as I could.
And like I said, now upon reflection, that’s probably not the best way to go about it. I really didn’t want anyone to know, not even my close friends. The only people that knew in the initial stages was my mom and my sister. But I just got myself to a point where I was really struggling just to stay today. And I’ve been struggling to find a way of bucking the trend and changing and trying to get myself back to my normal self. For me, that’s sort of, it came from a few different measures, which helped me get out of that. But it was definitely a three or four month period, which is probably the hardest part of hardest on my life, I could say.
Gianna Lucas: And good on you firstly, for being so open and sharing that. And secondly, for being able to get through it. And you were saying it wasn’t catastrophic, but I think when you add all those different elements together and them all happening at once, it can be tough on anybody. And being a footballer you are a public figure. And I guess you have, talking about the start, we’re talking about fans, the reality is you have thousands and thousands of fans. You’ve got millions of people watching you on television or seeing you in stadiums. Man, that is a lot of pressure.
I mean, let’s not take away what it is. It’s like an artist singing on stage and you don’t want to go flat on a note on a song if you’re singing live because you thinking, people are going to hate me if they don’t think I’m great at what I do. People are paying a ticket to see me, people are invested. And that is tough. And I think just firstly to say that any footballer that’s able to deal with that. So firstly kudos to you because that is a lot.
And I think adding to that, all the other stuff (inaudible) around your world, it is a lot to deal with. And one of the things that you touched on just before that is really interesting is life beyond football. And I think for you, you were very blessed as well that you studied a degree. You were working a few months in architecture. And I think football, from what I understand of it (inaudible) your mid 30s, you tend to move on to another career or you might stay in football, but in a different role. And that’s another thing you have to think about too, because football is only one part of your life. So how do you feel about thinking about your future, but also being comfortable with the present and enjoying the moment?
Mitch Hannan: That’s part of the ups and downs of the footy world is its, you’re quite volatile in the sense that it can end for you at any point in time, whether it be through a longterm injury or ongoing lack of form. And you have to obviously focus on the now and try and put your best foot forward in terms of playing football at the highest standard and trying to create a football career for yourself. But you also have to subtly be aware that things can change dramatically, because that’s just the industry you’re in, and preplan for that. So that for me, even though I had that architecture background and a little bit of uni behind me, which a lot of people would say, I’m in a fortunate position because I’ve got a bit of a backup plan.
It’s still something that even to this day plays on my mind. I’m not 100% sure what I’d to be doing life after footy. And that comes with its added stress just to what’s going on around you. It’s a tough one. A lot of people can sit there at their office jobs or desk jobs and even though they might not be enjoying it, they’ve got a level of security with their work. Whereas, ours is forever changing.
The environment where you maybe be dropped one week playing the next, having an off season, like things are just constantly moving, but you just have to learn to adapt and I guess, just be up for what things can get thrown at you in such a short period of time. So it’s an interesting space. It’s one I’m definitely up for the ride for. I’m not complaining. It’s a great industry (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: Oh definitely. And you’re using your voice and using your, I guess your position as a public figure for social good with Mendl. On that, because you’ve recently created Mendl, have you found that people have learnt a lot more about your journey? Have you been able to start these wonderful and open conversations with others that you might not have had originally?
Mitch Hannan: It has, in the sense, my story hasn’t really been publicized too much. And that’s through a mixture of my own lack of putting myself out there. But I’m at a point now where I’m more than happy to talk about these things, hence the reason I’m on here to chatting to you as well. Because obviously if I’m creating something like Mendl, which I’m passionate about, there’s no doubt that people would probably like to hear my reasoning behind it. So I’m completely aware that my story has to come with that to some degree.
Like you said, the teammates probably didn’t know all about what I was going through at the time, because I tried to internalize a little bit. But this question is being asked about, like why Mendl and whatnot. And it’s something I’m more than comfortable talking about. And I have found off the back of that, that there’s been guys outside of my football circle of friends, also some other mates and people that I don’t actually know terribly well, just reaching out to say that they’re quite proud of what I’ve done.
And then also joined upon their own dealings with mental health, which does gives me like a smile on my face to hear that people are more than comfortable to come to me for a chat or to reach out because a lot of people out there going through a lot of similar experiences, which I’ve had. So it’s great to see that they’re happy to reach out and have those chats.
Gianna Lucas: You’re changing lives, and even if you just change one life with Mendl, then you’ve done your job and you’re obviously changing many, many. And what are your goals for Mendl, but mental health in Australia in general? Because as we know, mental health, particularly in men and suicide rates in men are extraordinarily high. And with COVID-19, unfortunately that’s on the rise again. Do you have certain goals that you would personally love to achieve and make an impact in men’s lives?
Mitch Hannan: For us, the idea of clothing was to have, we wanted to culminate this idea of something that’s fashionable that people want to wear because I think they look good, but also with this hidden message behind it, creating conversations. So I know that these donations of the nonprofit brand give to the charities of the month aren’t going to be astronomical and do great things in the mental health space. It’s more the idea behind giving back.
But what we try to aim to do with Mendl is for people to recognize the name or the brand itself, and just have this hidden hand shake between either their mates that are wearing it or the stranger in the street that they see the brand and understand that they have that subtle acknowledgement towards their own mental health, but also those around them.
So for me, the longterm goal for Mendl is to target those guys who may not be open to the idea of mental health as I’d like them to be and just have them open up and wear the logo with pride because one, they think they look good, but two, also to be open to have conversations with those around them that they care about. So I would love to see that environment of conversations among men my age. So that younger age bracket, just start having some more open and honest conversations.
Gianna Lucas: Love it. Absolutely love it. And for those who don’t know, what does Mendl stand for?
Mitch Hannan: So Mendl, I came up with it myself. I wanted something quirky, but it’s essentially just an acronym for the words, the three words, mending men’s mental.
Gianna Lucas: I love it. I absolutely love that, mending men’s mental because it is. And I love how mending is also associated with clothing. Like when you’ve got a little, like you’ve got a hole in a top, you mend it. Was that intentional?
Mitch Hannan: No. I’ve never even heard that before.
Gianna Lucas: There you go. (inaudible) .
Mitch Hannan: I’d like to hope that their clothes don’t have holes in them.
Gianna Lucas: No, they’re top quality. But if someone accidentally puts a hole in it, they just mend it and then they can also mend men’s mental health or they can buy another top and then they can mend men’s mental health that way, because obviously, all profits go to men’s mental health charities. Now, absolutely love it. You are an absolute gem, Mitch. It’s absolutely been great talking to you. Don’t go anywhere because right after this, we’re going to talk a little bit about what you’re grateful for. Did you know Happow is on socials? Come and say hey. Follow us at Happow AU and be sure to check us out at Happow. com.
Carissa Shale: This week we asked you who you look up to and why. And here’s what you had to say.
Speaker 6: Someone who I look up to is Anna Richards. She’s a globally known professional network marketer who impacts thousands of people. Hannah eats, moves and thinks like she loves herself and encourages us to do the same. Her bubbly, contagious energy and how she shows up for not only herself, but others too is something I aspire to be like.
Speaker 7: Someone who I look up to is my mom because she works very hard and is so kind in any situation.
Speaker 8: Brené Brown and Simon Sinek, they’re going to change the world and change how people view themselves and those around them for generations to come.
Speaker 9: Someone I look up to a lot for many reasons is Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand prime minister. She just is amazing in how she goes about her business and achieving some great things for New Zealand and how she’s leading young women around the world and empowering them to push themselves to achieve greatness in their lives and to make the world a better place.
Speaker 8: I’ve watched a video of Matthew McConaughey a couple of years ago and that stuck with me ever since. But he said that the person he looks up to is himself 10 years from now. That’s always just been a powerful message to forge my own path and look up to who I’m going to be in 10 years. So a little bit cheesy, but that’s the answer.
Carissa Shale: I’m Carissa Shale and that’s this week’s talk topic. Got something to share, drop us an email, yoursay@ happow. com.
Brendan: Learn Epic life skills in a super chill way. Sign up for free at happow. com.
Gianna Lucas: All right, Mitch, the time has come. Something big and small that you grateful for. I ask every interviewee this question, and may I just say, when it comes to the small thing, it can be trivial. I’ve had all sorts of different responses. They make me laugh and they make me smile and they make me question them a little bit, but either way there is no right or wrong here. What’s something big that you’re grateful for?
Mitch Hannan: For me, since we’ve been touching on the mental health space, I know it’s probably a very common answer, but it has to be my family, my immediate family. For me they’re spread all over the country. I’ve got a dad in Adelaide, a mom that’s in Victoria, a sister in Queensland and a sister in Sydney. So at one point in time we were obviously all together, but now we’re all spread apart. But during my own mental health battles and just conversations in general, I know that I can draw upon them for all sorts of levels of support. So I know that during that tough time I went through, if it wasn’t for them, I might be in a different place. So incredibly grateful for my immediate family.
Gianna Lucas: Family is super important, and having connection around you, especially when you can’t physically see each other, knowing that they’re always there just a phone call away or a FaceTime makes all the difference.
Mitch Hannan: Plenty of FaceTime in the last couple of months.
Gianna Lucas: I can imagine. Do you use particular apps or do you just do the standard FaceTime or do you use Facebook messenger? Do you use Houseparty?
Mitch Hannan: I’ve been doing them all to be honest. I’ve had a couple of Houseparty with some mates. (inaudible) because of some of the trivia questions they’ve got on it. But I’ve never dabbled in zoom, but I’ve been doing Zooms nonstop lately. So probably my video calling platform of choice.
Gianna Lucas: Of choice. That’s something big you’re grateful for. I’m grateful for Zoom, everybody. Zoom we’ll pay you later for that. They’ll pay your cash for comment. Now, something small that you’re grateful for. As I said, it can be trivial. It can be anything. It could be your beanie that you’re wearing. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy.
Mitch Hannan: Look, I was going to say, when I thought about this before, and I was going to say the fact that I live in an apartment, which is obviously convenient to being in the city. And what I was going to say was at my doorstep is the (inaudible) walking track. I love so going out there and just like, I pretty much walk every night. But saying is, it can be as trivial as anything.
Gianna Lucas: But that’s a good answer. All right. Give me a trivial one now that I’ve set you up.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) like obviously the footy world itself comes with few perks and one that I’ve luckily been able to catch on to is somehow I get free kombucha.
Gianna Lucas: I’m so jealous. You’re kidding.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: Like how often do you get free kombucha?
Mitch Hannan: So I’ll get three cases of it every month and-
Gianna Lucas: Stop it. That’s a really, really good saving because kombucha, I mean, it’s not expensive, but it’s not cheap either if you’re having it all the time.
Mitch Hannan: Probably one of those drinks that you probably don’t have every day or maybe every now and then. But (inaudible) I’m just like pushing it off to a few friends. And so I’m incredibly grateful for that.
Gianna Lucas: That’s awesome.
Mitch Hannan: I can’t say that (inaudible) I’ll be getting just off very kombucha. So (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: The biggest question I have to ask you is your favorite flavor.
Mitch Hannan: I love the plum one, actually, to be honest.
Gianna Lucas: Which one is the plum one?
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: Cherry plum.
Mitch Hannan: It’s got the purple.
Gianna Lucas: I recently-
Mitch Hannan: It’s got a purple logo.
Gianna Lucas: Because I’ve had, my favorite is the raspberry, but it depends on the brand that you’re talking about. But I did have one last night that was called, I think it was called ginger cherry or something that. So maybe it was a combination of cherry and ginger and it was actually really good. It was a bit cough syrup, but better.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) that way and then you (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: That’s right.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: Exactly. When you first open it it’s like, that’s strong, but then, you’re right, it gets better with every sip.
Mitch Hannan: It’s very good.
Gianna Lucas: The next minute we’re going to have a kombucha companies come on the show. We’ll probably have to have them as a sponsor. If you’re listening, please sponsor this show.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) .
Gianna Lucas: Right after this, we’re going to do what I call the favorite part of every single show, and that of course is the challenge. Are you excited?
Mitch Hannan: I am looking forward to it. I’m a bit nervous actually.
Gianna Lucas: You’ll be fine. I promise.
Carissa Shale: Want to power of life, download your free power pack wallpapers at happow.com
Gianna Lucas: All right, Mitch, the time has come where we play the challenge. Now this particular challenge was brand spanking new to Happow in the sense that you wouldn’t have been able to play anywhere else. And it’s called peak your pillar. Now on Happow’s website, we have six content pillars where all our awesome life skills info and master classes and all that stuff sits in. And because of that, we thought, well, let’s create a competition that gives you and I, whoever my interview is a chance to answer some questions based on a particular topic. Now our six content pillars are health and wellness, relationships, DIY, community, career, and I always forget one at the end, Brendan, you want to weigh in, which one did I forget?
Gianna Lucas: Money. That’s important. We need money. Money makes our world go round. Money. So there’s a six content pillars and you and I will be given an opportunity to choose one content pillar each at one time. So you can choose relationships. I could choose health and wellness. And we answer a question that Brendan will give us. It will be a true or false question. If we get the answer right, we get a point. If we get it wrong, we don’t get a point. The person who gets the most amount of points in the end wins. How do you feel?
Mitch Hannan: Cool. I’m all for it.
Gianna Lucas: Are you good at trivia?
Mitch Hannan: In some categories I am. And then, like I said before, I’m a little bit vague on just general media and personalities and movies and stuff. So I’m hitting this. We’ll see how we go.
Gianna Lucas: All right. Well, luckily in this game you get to choose your pillar. Because I’m a genuine kindhearted person, I’m going to let you pick first. What pillar would you like?
Mitch Hannan: Let’s go with careers.
Gianna Lucas: Career.
Brendan: All righty. Here we go. Your question under career, Mitch. True or false, in the AFL if I’m a crammer I play in defense.
Mitch Hannan: False.
Gianna Lucas: False.
Mitch Hannan: That’s correct.
Gianna Lucas: Good choice. I feel like this is a read for me to lose. All right, my turn to pick. I’m going to do health and wellness.
Brendan: Health and wellness. True or false, coffee will dehydrate you.
Gianna Lucas: Now I’m going to probably say true, because I know that when you have green tea, which has caffeine in it, you have to drink two glasses of water per one glass of green tea or something. Now, if there’s caffeine in coffee, which there is, I reckon it will dehydrate you.
Brendan: Sorry to say, it’s actually false. Coffee can actually help you hydrate yourself, studies have shown.
Gianna Lucas: Really?
Mitch Hannan: There you go. That’s got me.
Gianna Lucas: There you go. I was so sure. And look at me, I gave the full reason why it was true and then I was wrong and that’s embarrassing. All right, your choice. What do you want to pick?
Mitch Hannan: We’ll go money.
Gianna Lucas: Money, money, money.
Brendan: All righty, true or false. According to the association of super funds in Australia, for a comfortable retirement you need around 640K as a couple.
Mitch Hannan: Actually, I listen to a lot of podcasts in the money sphere. I think it actually might be true. I think that’s average it out to be about 300 per person.
Brendan: You’d be correct. That’s true.
Gianna Lucas: Well done. You’re in the know. All right. Relationships
Brendan: True or false, physical affirmation is one of the five love languages created by Gary Chapman.
Gianna Lucas: Physical affirmation. Well, I can actually say, I do know the five love languages. It’s actually awesome. Mitch, do you know the five love languages? Have you heard of them?
Mitch Hannan: I’ve heard of them. Yeah.
Gianna Lucas: They’re the best. So I’m pretty sure Brendan, you went dodgy because you just squished two love languages together and created a new one, which doesn’t exist because it’s physical touch and there’s words of affirmation. There’s no physical affirmation. So it’s not. It’s physical touch.
Brendan: Yep. That’s correct.
Gianna Lucas: Yay. One on the board. Two Mitch, one Gianna. Go Mitch.
Mitch Hannan: We go health and wellbeing.
Gianna Lucas: I’ve already done that one.
Mitch Hannan: You’ve done that one.
Gianna Lucas: You could do, what’s left? We’ve got our DIY or community?
Mitch Hannan: I go DIY.
Gianna Lucas: DIY, true bloke. True architect.
Brendan: True or false. If I am growing tomatoes, temperatures in the 20s are perfect.
Mitch Hannan: Is that DIY?
Gianna Lucas: Well, gardening is. Gardening is DIY.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) . You know it is. (inaudible) . In the 20s. I would like… I’m going to say true.
Gianna Lucas: Go with your gut. True. I reckon it’s true as well. Think about it.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) 20 degrees, they got to grow in that.
Gianna Lucas: It can’t be too hot because then they’ll melt and go yuck.
Brendan: True. Lock it in Eddie.
Mitch Hannan: Lock that one in.
Brendan: That’s correct. Well done.
Gianna Lucas: I think I’ve lost the game because he’s got three and I’ve got one. But I’ll go for it anyway. What’s left?
Brendan: The last one is community. True or false, wasting less food is a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Gianna Lucas: Wasting less food. What do you mean wasting less food?
Brendan: So not throwing out as much.
Gianna Lucas: Isn’t it meant to stop greenhouse gases because you’re trying to have leftovers so that you’re not cooking as much on the stove. So true.
Brendan: That’s correct.
Gianna Lucas: (inaudible) thank goodness.
Brendan: And actually a fun fact, more than a third of food around the world actually never makes it to the table. It actually gets-
Gianna Lucas: A third.
Brendan: … thrown out in transit or in production.
Gianna Lucas: That’s horrible. All righty. What else is horrible is that I lost this game, but that’s okay.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) .
Brendan: (inaudible) . Well done, Mitch.
Gianna Lucas: Well done.
Mitch Hannan: (inaudible) take over.
Gianna Lucas: You were really good. You were awesome for someone who says you hit and miss with trivia, I think you’re bang on with trivia. So I think you cut yourself short. Although you did say before, I don’t really watch much media or wherever the media. I listen to money podcast.
Mitch Hannan: Well, it’s fair to say, if I had got the love affirmation run, I would have been stuck. So I’m glad I found that one-off.
Gianna Lucas: That’s all right. Look, that’s what we hear for supporting each other. And thank you so much for coming on our show. We’ve absolutely loved having you on. How can people follow Mitch Hannan? Keep up to date with Mendl. What’s the socials? What’s the websites?
Mitch Hannan: Sure. So our Mendl is purely an online business at the moment, which is www.mendl.com.au, and we’ve obviously got our socials running as well. So our Instagram handle is Mendl, and for Facebook it’s @MendlMovement. So there are major platforms. So if you want to find out more about it there, check it out online.
Gianna Lucas: And if they can follow you, if they want to know a little bit more about Mitch’s personal life that you love to share on the socials.
Mitch Hannan: Sure. Probably. I’m happy to. Socials is probably, Instagram is probably best as well. So I think it’s just Mitchan, M-I-T-C- H- A- N.
Gianna Lucas: Very nice. Well, thank you so much again, thank you for opening up and sharing your wisdom and your own personal journey. No doubt that this show and everything that you’re working on is going to change so many lives.
Mitch Hannan: Thank you very much. Thanks very much for having me.
Gianna Lucas: At the start of this ep, I said Mitch Hannan is a legend and now you too can see why. I hope you got a lot out of this episode just like I did. As Mitch was alluding to, you can learn more about his social enterprise, Mendl and browse through their latest range by visiting their website, Mendl, M- E- N- D- L.com.au, or hit them up on Insta and Facebook. Love this episode of Power Up Life, why not leave a rating and review on your favorite podcast app. By doing so you’re helping us reach even more people just like you.
Want to be a Happow advocate and contribute to our weekly talk topics and more, email us at [email protected]. And don’t forget to follow us on socials. Simply look up Happow AU, which is H- A- P- P- O- W- A- U to follow us and stay in the know. This episode of Power Up Life was produced by me, Gianna Lucas, Marija Dukadinovska, and Carissa Shale for the Happow podcast network.
Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode of Power Up Life, a Happow podcast. If you loved this episode, be a legend and leave us a quick rating and review on your fav podcast app. Dive into the show notes for all episodes on our website. Catch you next time and remember to power up life.