Brendan's talking points:
Brendan's talks centre around his experiences in the areas as listed below. He tailors his talks to suit the audience- his presentation can focus on a particular topic area that is relevant to the audience or can be comprised of a range of topics.
Road Safety - Safe driving | Mobile phone use | Fatigue | Distractions
Living with a spinal cord injury| Disability awareness
Mental health and positive change
Dangers of drugs and alcohol |Risky behaviour | Choices
Life changing experiences
The benefits of sport | The power of the mind and the resilience of the body
Schools, universities, vocational colleges
Workplaces (including the transport industry)
Youth intervention programs and juvenile justice centres
Sporting clubs and sport programs
Brendan thrives upon being able to reach out to others; to improve their understanding of life’s difficulties and to help them move forwards through developing and maintaining a positive mindset. He presents in an engaging, heartfelt and compelling manner.
Brendan's presentations are typically structured in the following format:
A slideshow presentation with accompanying notes that tells his story- it introduces Brendan and his background, talks about his key life events and how they have impacted on him, and talks about the life that Brendan leads today
A video re-enactment of Brendan's accident along with time spent discussing the video and its key message is a powerful section of his presentations (please note: the graphic content of this video means that it may not be suited to audiences under Grade 10 )
Question time- Brendan encourages his audience to ask about any aspect of his life that he speaks about in his presentation and he provides thoughtful and considered answers. Brendan is experienced at provoking powerful responses from his audience
Please contact Brendan if you have any particular requests on the format or content of his presentation- he is happy to accommodate any special requests.
A DEEPER LOOK INTO BRENDAN'S TALKING POINTS
Brendan's life has been deeply affected by incidents of road trauma. Enduring his own accident was traumatic enough, but after having lost his mother, his nephew and close friends to road accidents, his eyes were fully opened to the very real and frequent dangers of being on the road.
FACT: Young people aged between 18 and 26 are 30% more likely to be involved in a car accident
Brendan is particularly passionate in educating young people about the dangers of being on the road because of the high risks associated with this age group in relation to road accidents and road fatalities.
Disability and Diversity
FACT: 1 in 5 people have a disability. This equates to around 4 million people in Australia, and around 650 million people worldwide.
Brendan's experience as a paraplegic and living with a spinal cord injury changed the course of his life significantly. It has given him strength, resolve and has taught him to always keep challenging himself in what he is able to do.
Brendan sees opportunity where others may not and he is passionate about encouraging others to embrace the differences in each other. He is a strong advocate for those with a wide range of disabilities. He wants to pass on the message to his audience that we should celebrate the unique abilities that we all have as individuals.
"To understand that we are all unique means recognising our individual differences: ethnicity, gender, age, physical abilities, disabilities and more. Acceptance and understanding of these differences can open up and enrich your world."
Depression and mental health
Fact: Each year approximately 1 in 5 Australians will experience some form of mental illness
Brendan has battled with depression for most of his life and understands the detrimental impact it can have on people's lives. He feels that he has an experienced perspective and depth of understanding of depression and the path towards recovery. Brendan has also lost loved ones to suicide and knows how imperative it is to seek help before it is too late. Brendan encourages talk about mental health to be normalised and encourages those who may be experiencing signs of depression to reach out, talk to someone and seek help.
"I want to show others how to see light when they are in a dark place. Seeking help and finding the will to talk can be the hardest thing to start off with. Knowing that it's OK to not be OK is the first step."
FACT: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in Australian men and men are significantly less likely than women to access support services when experiencing mental health issues
Brendan has a particular interest area in men's mental health. He recognises the common difficulties that men have when it comes to mental health issues- they often feel they have to "toughen up" or "solider on" and may be reluctant to admit that they are having a tough time. Brendan wants to normalise discussion of mental health issues among males and convey that it is OK to reach out to other and talk about your feelings and emotions.
FACT: People with a disability are 48% more likely to experience a mental illness
Brendan found the time after his accident to be a difficult one in which he sunk into depression again. He was able to get through this time by focussing on the positive things in his life and wheelchair sports provided him with a particular positive focus as he adjusted to his new life in a wheelchair.
Brendan recognises the strong link between having a disability and the likelihood of also having a mental illness. He aims to educate and reach out to others on this issue to increase awareness and promote the cause of those who have a disability.