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Legendary AFL Footballer & Mental Health Advocate


Since capturing Australia’s attention as one of the most successful football players in AFL history, Wayne Schwass has made a name for himself in more ways than one.

Born in New Zealand and raised in Warrnambool, Western Victoria, Wayne Schwass began playing Aussie Rules football at ten. But with is his undeniable talent and passion, it was not long before he was recruited to join the AFL- so in 1986, Wayne began playing for the North Melbourne Football Club.

From here, Wayne went from strength to strength, quickly becoming one of the most highly-rated players in AFL history. Over 14 years Wayne played 282 games at the elite level, both with the North Melbourne Football Club (1988-1997) and the Sydney Swans (1998-2002). During his outstanding career Wayne won 3 Best and Fairest’s at the NMFC, he was a premiership player with NMFC in 1996, All-Australian in 1999 and part of the NMFC Team of the Century and inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Since retiring in 2002, Wayne has established himself as a highly respected AFL broadcaster on TV, radio, print and online. However, besides his work within the sporting world, Wayne has become a passionate and leading advocate for mental health awareness.
In 2017 Wayne founded PukaUp a social enterprise focusing on mental health, emotional wellbeing and, importantly, suicide prevention.

According to Wayne, the PukaUp vision is to ‘create the environments for every person to have authentic and genuine conversations about mental health and emotional wellbeing'.
As well as running PukaUp, Wayne also delivers powerful and honest keynote speeches at countless mental health seminars and workshops, where his message never fails to resonate with audiences.
In 2019 saw Wayne finish up as part of the Triple M AFL commentary Team and as host of ‘Off the Bench TV”. Wayne is focusing up on eliminating the stigma of Men’s Mental Health and focusing on his organization PukaUp.

Talking Points

Wellbeing Presentations

The first step towards creating mentally healthy workplaces is to start the conversation.

We know that talking about mental health can be difficult.

We also know, it doesn’t have to be. Creating a safe workplace environment where talking about mental health is not only okay, but actively encouraged is crucial to your team’s wellbeing.

Wayne Schwass draws on his 16 years of experience of delivering authentic and inspiring presentations, engaging audiences throughout corporate Australia to create a starting point for these important conversations.

Wayne’s ability to establish an authentic connection with audiences by creating a safe environment for your people to talk openly and honestly, is a result of his vulnerable and passionate storytelling capacity.

Supporting your team’s wellbeing has never been more important - not only because it’s good for business, but because it’s simply the right thing to do.

Key Takeaways:
- Normalising mental health conversations as part of everyday life
- Connecting physical and mental health
- Understanding what’s holding us back from beginning our wellbeing journey
- Practical ways to communicate to others about our mental health
- Strategies and techniques that you can use to prioritise your mental health
- The motivation to take action today
Wayne's presentation was excellent - a highlight of the conference and he received a standing ovation. St John Ambulance WA

Wayne is a is a highly intelligent visionary; whose dedication to his work in the mental health space is absolutely inspiring. The team at The Banksia Project were lucky enough to have Wayne participate in our 'mental health in sports' forum in May 2017; where Wayne’s insight and delivery were instrumental to the success of the event.

The Banksia Project

Wayne was such an incredible speaker. We loved the session and he asked some hard hitting questions but he broke these questions down in a way that every one can understand the importance of mental wellbeing.

Brookfield Properties Pty Ltd
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