In 2006, Wayne started the Sunrise Foundation – a not-for-profit that delivered preventative education programs to more than 5000 secondary school students. Wayne has taken on several important roles in the community including being the lead witness in the 2019 Royal Commission into the Victorian Mental Health System, serving as a panel member for the review of the Victorian Mental Health Act 1986 as well as being a leading voice on mental health and emotional wellbeing.
The Sunrise Foundation confirmed that creating awareness and proactively doing something about the mental health and the ongoing suicide crisis Australia faces, is indeed Wayne’s passion.
The second iteration of Wayne’s social enterprise was founded in 2017: PukaUp. Through PukaUp, Wayne continues his work of normalising the conversation around mental health, and giving people the opportunity to take control of their own wellbeing, before reaching crisis point.
Wayne enjoyed a celebrated 14 year AFL playing career, going on to establish himself as a respected sports media broadcaster – a position he held over a 17 year period until 2019, where his speaking skills were honed.
Wayne hid his conditions for 12 years and it’s taken him 26 years to learn the skills that now allow him to look after his mental health. Wayne doesn’t want people to make those same choices. He decided a long time ago to use his experiences to help other people on similar journeys. Wayne doesn’t believe people need to wait until they become unwell before they start to think about their mental health. He wants people to stay healthy – it’s a much better outcome for the individual, their families and friends, their workplaces and the broader community.