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Wayne Schwass - riding to eliminate suicide

On Saturday September 28th 1996, Wayne Schwass accomplished what most young boys only dream of…to win an AFL grand final. While happy to have fulfilled a childhood dream Wayne said on the day he felt “spiritually broken, emotionally lost and wanted to end my life.”

Afraid to reach out for help and what people would think of him, Wayne battled with his mental health issues in silence for most of his sporting career. Now, more than twenty years on Wayne is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, suicide prevention and emotional wellbeing with his social enterprise Puka Up.

This is Wayne's story about a twelve year battle with mental illness and how he eventually triumphed over his condition. Wayne shows how mental illness doesn't have to stop you from being successful or living a fulfilling life.

Puka Up Logo

About Puka Up

Puka Up’s mission is to make genuine conversations around mental health a part of everyday life, to eliminate suicide. A mission that will see Wayne along with 31 other riders including former AFL stars Ryan O’Keefe and Scott Cummings, take part in a gruelling 1818km, 10-day bike ride throughout Victoria to help raise awareness of suicide.

Along their journey Wayne and the Puka Up team will be hosting forums in rural Victorian towns to ignite much needed conversations around the issue of suicide and the devastation it causes families.

Benestar is proud to be a supporting sponsor of the event which will take place from 6th – 15th March. For more information about Puka Up head to