Funny man here to tackle serious issues

By Tessa Johnstone tessa.johnstone@age.co.nz


Comedian Mike King is coming to Masterton to talk about an issue that's anything but funny - suicide and mental health.

Mr King will spend October 25 in Wairarapa, speaking at Kuranui, Wairarapa and Makoura Colleges and then speaking to the public at Masterton Town Hall.

The visit is being organised with the support of Wairarapa DHB's suicide prevention coordinator Jane Mills, as part of a range of initiatives aimed at preventing suicide.

"It'll be about my story, my journey through mental health and self-medication and coming out the other end, tips and hints on how men especially can manage that journey," said Mr King.

Mr King said he had struggled with depression for the past 35 years, only realising about five years ago what it was, along with drug and alcohol addiction.

"I always grew up with voices of doubt churning over in my head, and was beating myself up. I'm a perfectionist by trade, and they live the life of constant failure because no one can ever live up to a perfectionist," Mr King said.

He started The Nutters Club in 2009, which started with him talking about his own mental health on Radio Live, and is now also a weekly show on Maori Television.

He said The Nutters Club, and charitable trust Key To Life, aimed to turn New Zealanders' attitudes about mental health and suicide around. "When people commit suicide, uncaring New Zealanders say it's a choice, but people don't commit suicide out of choice, they commit suicide because they got no choice, they have nowhere to turn."

He said New Zealand was in the grip of a crisis, and needed to stop looking to central government to fix the issue.

"Central government comes with conditions, we need to be careful. It's too slow, and communities can start action immediately ... If the community gets in there to help we don't need help from those other people ... it's more effective and the community owns it," Mr King said.

Mike King at Masterton Town Hall, Thursday, October 25, 7.30pm, FREE

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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