Club heads up health

Woodend-Hesket Football and Netball Club. Pic: Luke Hemer

By Jessica Micallef

Woodend Hesket Football Netball Club is taking a stance on mental health.

Former AFL player and mental health advocate Wayne Schwass attended the club’s mental health forum on Sunday.

Schwass, who played for North Melbourne and Sydney suffered mental health issues during his playing career.

He has since started Puka Up, a social enterprise dedicated to raising awareness about mental health, emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention.

Woodend Hesket club president Paul Podbury said Schwass’ talk was a great chance to take away the stigma associated with mental health.

“Wayne’s message to people being able to put up their hand and say that, ‘they’re not OK’ and to get help without any stigma attached to that is pretty powerful … ” Mr Podbury said.

“Someone like Wayne who has been successful on and off the field, it helps with the fact it affects anyone.

“It’s also a community event … it’s not just for footballers it’s for anybody.”

Riddell Football Netball Club and Macedon Football Netball Club will participate in the second Puka Up Cup on April 6, after they each lost a young player to suicide in 2017.