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Wayne Schwass’ inspirational ride for suicide prevention

The need to raise awareness or have a conversation around a mental health issue is something which continues to be a necessity today and former AFL legend Wayne Schwass is doing his part to promote the cause.

In 2016, a whopping 2866 people lost their lives from committing suicide leaving thousands of families devastated and missing a loved one.

Schwass – who is an ambassador for PUKA UP earlier this year rode 1433 kilometres on a bike to honour those who succumbed to this terrible tragedy.

Schwass said it was extremely important to promote the importance of having a conversation about mental health.

“We did the bike ride for two really important reasons,” Schwass said.

“One was this issue of suicide which continues to cause a lot of destruction and devastation across the country.

“We wanted to honour the lives lost in 2016 which was 2866 – to let the families who have been impacted by suicide know that there are people out there that care about this greatly.

“The other reason that I wanted to take people on this journey was the bike ride that allowed us to have really open and honest conversations and show people that it’s ok to be vulnerable, it’s ok to be emotional.

“When you behave in that way you give yourself an opportunity to deal with something that could be causing you a lot of stress.”

The 50-year-old played 282 games for both North Melbourne and the Swans throughout his AFL career including winning a premiership with the Kangaroos in 1996, however no challenge meant more to him than completing this ride.

Fellow ex-AFL player Scott Cummings also took part in the ride along with a number of former AFL footballers.

PUKA UP is an organisation aimed at enhancing and promoting conversations about mental health and emotional well-being.

For more information on PUKA UP, you can visit


Listen to the full interview below: