Riders bring mental health message to Maryborough

The Puka Up bike ride passed through Maryborough this month in a bid to stimulate conversation about mental health.

A lycra-clad cavalry hit Maryborough earlier this month in the hope to start an open conversation about mental health.

Maryborough was stop number 32 on the 10-day Puka Up grand tour around Victoria which concluded in Melbourne on Friday, March 15.

Founded by Sydney Swans legend and mental health advocate Wayne Schwass, the ride encourages conversation around mental health and the alarming rate of suicides in Australia.

Puka Up estimates on average that around eight Australians a day are lost to suicide.

Among the pack of 30 riders sat Scott Cummings, a former AFL player best known for his goal kicking abilities.

Cummings claimed the 1999 Coleman Medal and retired from AFL in 2002 after stints with Essendon, Port Adelaide, the West Coast Eagles and Collingwood.

Cummings said the ride is a physical representation of the “pain and suffering” that those with mental health problems experience and hopes that it sparks conversation in communities that the ride visited.

“It’s an amazing cause. We’re going through a lot of pain and suffering, but when you think about who we’re doing it for and why we’re doing it, being puffed or sore on a bike doesn’t really compare to people who can’t see any other avenue out of their problems than to take their own life,” he said.

For more on this story see Page 23 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, March 26

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