Brendan is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention. He has been working in the mental health and suicide prevention sector for 13 years, starting at Lifeline Australia in 2007, before moving to R U OK? in 2013 and then Movember in 2019.
When Brendan took on the role of Global Director, Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Movember, one of his key focuses was to scale up the Foundation’s work in prevention and early intervention to reach more men in priority populations - including fathers, young men, Indigenous men and men experiencing social isolation.
The Life in Mind team asked Brendan to share his insights on the National Communications Charter and what it meant to be one of the Champions leading its dissemination.
Q&A with Brendan Maher, Movember
Why did Movember sign The National Communications Charter?
As a global leader in men’s health, Movember is committed to demonstrating our commitment to reducing stigmatising language and promoting help-seeking and help-offering behaviour. Given our share of voice and connection to the community, we believe we have a responsibility to communicate appropriately, effectively, constructively and compassionately about suicide and suicide prevention. We are also committed to being an active and engaged participant in the mental health and suicide prevention sector, which our signature on The Charter commits us to.
What does being a Life in Mind Champion mean to you?
It means that I acknowledge and commit to the responsibilities that The Charter identifies and can ensure that Movember demonstrates best practice, not only in Australia, but in the other countries where we are seeking to achieve better mental health outcomes for men and boys.
Why do you believe Australia needs to focus on male suicide prevention?
In Australia, seven males take their lives every day. This accounts for 75% of all suicides in our population. Each and every suicide represents someone’s brother, dad, son, mate or colleague. Movember believes that suicide is mostly preventable and given the disproportional impact of this significant challenge on men and boys, male-focused interventions are required.
What is the most rewarding or enjoyable part of your role?
Movember is uniquely positioned to identify and invest in a range of interventions, including those that sit outside of traditional health and academic settings. I am constantly blown away by the support and belief that our community put into our organisation. This is both a privilege and a big responsibility, but what gets me up every day is a belief that we can make a genuine impact on stopping men and boys from leaving us well before they’re meant to. It’s complicated, and there’s no quick fix but we are fixated on addressing this and optimistic that we can create a real impact.