Former AFL footballer to share mental health battle at Nirranda

 AFL great Wayne Schwass will visit the south-west this week to speak candidly about his own mental health challenges.

Schwass, who was recruited from South Warrnambool, battled depression during his 15-year, 282-game league career with North Melbourne and Sydney. 

Veteran: AFL footballer Wayne Schwass will share how his battle with depression affected his 15-year, 282-game career with North Melbourne and Sydney, at an event in Nirranda this week.

Veteran: AFL footballer Wayne Schwass will share how his battle with depression affected his 15-year, 282-game career with North Melbourne and Sydney, at an event in Nirranda this week.

Schwass, who was one of the first AFL footballers to openly share his battle with depression, will speak at the Nirranda Football Netball Club on Thursday night.

Committee member Alan Rippon saw Schwass speak at a similar event in Cobden and “thought he was just sensational”. 

“We’re stoked to have him,” Mr Rippon said. “If we get one person who puts their hand up (to ask for help) then it has been worthwhile. 

“We’ve had a couple of suicides in the district over the years and I hope we don’t have anymore. I hope this is one way we can prevent them by encouraging people to get help.

Mr Rippon said low milk prices had “put a lot of pressure on some guys,” and anything to raise awareness about mental health was positive.

He said the free event was made possible thanks to funding from Origin Energy and the CO2CRC Otway Project who didn’t hesitate to get behind it. “Everybody realises how important this stuff is,” Mr Rippon said. 

It’s on at the Nirranda Community Centre at 7.30pm and includes supper.