PUKA UP Cup to promote mental health

Two sporting clubs are uniting to raise awareness of mental health, after they each lost a young player to suicide last year.

Riddell Football Netball Club and Macedon Football Netball Club plan to begin each season with a one-day senior football and A-grade netball competition to bring awareness to the issue of mental health.

The first ‘PUKA UP Cup’ will be held on April 7.

Organiser Scott Tresize said the clubs would observe a minute of silence between each game.

“The sports are competitive, but the teams will stand intermingled … to show we’re together on the same page,” Mr Tresize said.

The event is being run in conjunction with AFL player Wayne Schwass’ mental health enterprise PUKA UP, and Macedon Ranges council’s mental health program Live4Life.

Mr Tresize said the clubs had been hit hard by the losses and the annual event would be a way to preserve the memory of the players.

The former Riddell player and coach said the communities also wanted to use the day to raise funds for a local drop-in mental health support centre and for mental health first-aid training.

He said club members felt they could make a difference because they might be more accessible and approachable to youth than medical professionals.

“We go to first aid training and defibrillator training, why don’t we do anything for minds?”