My name is Brendan McDonnell.
In November of 2007 my dad took his own life.
I was the first person to discover his body after he died.
I was 15 at the time.
He left behind a suicide letter personally addressed to me.
In it he told me that he didn’t want to expose me to all the “doom and gloom” that had taken over his life.
The 'doom and gloom' he was referring is mental illness.
In 2015 I made a choice to do all I can to help prevent the doom and gloom that claimed my dad’s life and shattered my family from reaching others.
I shared my life and experiences in great detail on a blog, www.brendanmcdonnell.com, which has connected with and inspired many.
I didn’t want what I’d shared to simply fade away so I attached my messages to something tangible. In June of 2016 I launched Herman’s Hands.
Herman’s Hands is an Australian Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention Clothing Brand/ Organisation.
It uses clothing as a vehicle for spreading awareness to Create Dialogue and Inspire Change.
Herman was my dad’s nickname.
Herman was a Tattoo Artist, Motorcycle Mechanic, Bouncer, Biker, Businessman, Criminal, Brother, Uncle, Son, Husband, Father and Friend. He was a Teacher and a Mentor and heaps of other things, but he was also a mental illness sufferer.
No one understood the gravity of what had taken hold of him before it was too late. Mental Illness consumed him like many other strong men before him.
If Herman suffered, you can too.
All of the Herman's Hands graphics and imagery are directly inspired by Herman’s life as a Tattooist, Hardman and Father in the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.
Mental illness and suicide run rampant in Australia. Suicide is the leading cause of death of Australians aged 15-44 years.
Collectively we need to do more.
I firmly believe that the ‘Macho Aussie Male’ stereotype and associated culture heavily contribute to these heinous statistics. Not only this, but it also stands in the way of removing the stigmas surrounding mental health and suicide in this country.
I know that through Herman’s Hands we can break down and remove the ugly stereotype and culture and raise awareness.
With awareness of the doom and gloom it can be overcome.
I am living proof.
Buy some merch and wear it proudly. If someone asks, tell them what it is and where it came from. Let Herman's Hands start the conversation for you. You too can become an advocate for change.
Three little words : Who is Herman?
Herman was my dad and this brand acts as his hands from wherever he is now.
Create Dialogue – Inspire Change.