Mental health advocate Wayne Schwass keynote speaker at the next In Conversation lunch
  • Thursday 08 August 2019

Mental health advocate and AFL legend Wayne Schwass will speak at the next In Conversation lunch in partnership with University of the Sunshine Coast’s (USC) Sunshine Coast Mind and Neuroscience – Thompson Institute at Venue 114 on Thursday 12 September 2019.

After a distinguished AFL playing career, Wayne has become a respected sports media broadcaster including his current position with TripleM Footy.

In addition to his work within the AFL industry, Wayne has also become a passionate advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

In 2006, Wayne founded the ‘Sunrise Foundation’. The organisation delivered preventative education programs to more than 5000 secondary school students over four years from 2007 to 2010.

In 2012, Wayne transitioned into a corporate sales role, a position he held until April 2017.

Wayne’s passion for health and wellbeing ultimately drew him back to mental health advocacy - a passion that led him to create ‘PukaUp’.

Launched in 2017, PukaUp is a social enterprise focusing on mental health, emotional well-being and importantly, suicide prevention. 

The PukaUp vision is to ‘create environments for every person to have authentic and genuine conversations about mental health and emotional wellbeing'.

“Normalising the discussion of mental health and emotional wellbeing has never been more important,” Wayne said.

“These conversations can and do positively change lives and in some situations these conversations have saved lives,” he said.

The In Conversation lunch will also feature conversations with emcee Seven Network presenter Jillian Whiting and Thompson Institute ambassador and Sunshine Coast Lightning player, Cara Koenen and Thompson Institute advocate, counsellor, author and bodybuilder Leon Stensholm. Mr Stensholm is also a partner of the Thompson Institute’s Alliance for Suicide Prevention initiative.

The Thompson Institute is a hub for world-class mental health research, teaching and clinical services, based on the Sunshine Coast.

The Thompson Institute’s Operations Manager Elise Jione said the In Conversation lunch event gave presenters and guests the platform to speak up about mental health – an action that can “change or even save lives”.

“To be a strong, healthy and resilient community we need to talk about mental health and support each other to care for our mental health,” Ms Jione said.

“We look forward to sharing stories of recovery, support-giving and the crucial research that is being done right here on the Sunshine Coast that has the potential to change how we treat mental health.”

When: Thursday 12 September, 2019 at Venue 114

From: 11.30am–2.30pm

Early bird tickets are available for $80 by using the code word BIRD when purchasing online tickets until 19 August and then $120.

Tables of eight are just $110 per person and include lunch by Penfolds Catering, drinks and entertainment. To book visit or call 5413 1400.

In Conversation is proudly supported by Network 7, Hot 91.1 FM, My Weekly Preview and the Thompson Institute and aims to educate, empower and engage the community.