Comedian tells of depression

By Tessa Johnstone

Hundreds of Wairarapa students heard Mike King's message loud and clear yesterday - don't let anyone put you off your dreams.

Mr King, who struggled with depression and addiction for many years, spoke to Makoura, Kuranui and Wairarapa Colleges about mental health, suicide and bullying and used his own stories and comedy to get the message across.

"There's too many people throwing negativity at the problem and not enough people throwing positivity at the solution," said Mr King.

He said bullying was a big issue for young people in particular, and used his own journey through school and into the comedy arena as an example.

"Don't let anyone put you off your dreams. There are so many people who don't want you to succeed, because they're scared they'll be left behind."

Wairarapa College principal Mike Schwass said the message was a great reinforcement that there is help available and it's okay to ask for it.

"The message was a valuable one for the kids to hear."

Wairarapa DHB suicide prevention co-ordinator Jane Mills said the interactive talk by Mr King was well-received by the colleges yesterday.

"They laughed at his jokes and got some quite subtle messages around life's challenges and bullying for the kids."

Ms Mills said people often listened better to a person they admired, and good orators like Mr King were great at delivering the message.

"He's travelled life's sometimes bumpy road, and can laugh at himself."

Ms Mills said Mike King's visit had been planned for a number of months, and was part of a series of measures aimed at promoting good mental health and preventing suicide.

Wristbands and wallet cards with Youthline numbers on them are available for young people and an online directory of Wairarapa's social services will be launched next week.

Mr King was also speaking about men's mental health at Masterton Town Hall last night.


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