Tauranga mental health experts say the sudden death of Greg Boyed is a stark reminder to reach out to loved ones who may be vulnerable to mental health issues.

Tributes continue to flow for the 48-year-old, who was raised in Te Puke, from both close friends, colleagues and even those who only knew his face from the television screen.

Boyed was holidaying with his wife and young son in Switzerland when he died suddenly on Monday.

Barter Barber Sam Dowdall, who was on a mission to help men open up about mental health and suicide, said it was understandable Boyed's death had an impact on the public.


"Greg was in everyone's living rooms at dinner time. It is resounding."

The Tauranga barber said people who suffered from depression often felt isolated, which was "one of the most dangerous things to come across".

"You can be surrounded by friends and feel like you are isolated."

Dowdall said men often struggled with expressing their feelings and it was common for them to try and provide a solution.

"There is this attitude of trying to fix things which can feel like a lot of pressure," he said.

"But it is about saying, 'Yes you have been heard'. You're job is not to fix things but to listen."

Many people misunderstood the illness, saying they never saw it coming, Dowdall said.

"Mental illness does not discriminate," he said.


Dowdall encouraged people to be compassionate and give time to those who may be battling a mental illness.

"It is okay to not be okay," he said. "It is okay to ask for help."

Renowned mural artist Graeme "Mr G" Hoete, who had suffered from depression, encouraged people to take the initiative and spark conversations among friends.

"It is just taking the initiative, letting them know you care and checking up on the bros," he said.

"If you care about somebody, you will ask them even if it's awkward."

Hoete said it was his faith in God that kept him afloat and often pictured a beach ball being weighed down by water and floating back to the surface.

"Hope is really buoyancy," he said.

"Hope was such a gamechanger for me."

His wife also played a big part in overcoming his depression, Hoete said.

"She was able to really explain to my male ego what was going on," he said. "She was really my hero."

University of Waikato director of the clinical psychology training programme, Carrie Barber, said it was important for people to find the right support that works for them.

"If the first therapy, medication, or combination of the two, doesn't work, there are lots of different options," she said. "Just keep trying different things."

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson warned that Boyed's death would affect others who suffered from depression.

"Greg's death really puts a very human face on what is a big issue that our whole community is addressing ..." he said.

Robinson said as a community we need to recognise that Boyed's death was a loss and people were entitled to feel sadness, and be supported in that.

"Greg Boyed was a very likeable personality in the media and often with any sort of public figure, people who see them in some way as a role model or somebody they felt connected to, even if they'd never met them personally it can feel like a real grief or a real loss."

He said it would also put a spotlight on mental health and again raise questions around what was helpful for sufferers.

Greg Boyed died suddenly this week at age 48. Photo/File
Greg Boyed died suddenly this week at age 48. Photo/File


Western Bay of Plenty District Council communications consultant Ruth Woodward said she had spent a week with Boyed who was a cadet reporter at the Te Puke Times where she was editor from 1987 to 1992.

"I just remember this very tall and quite imposing young man walking into the office and being keen to get out and on to a job," she said.

Woodward said Boyed would have been kept busy covering the regular community news.

"As for all young journos cutting their teeth in the communities is an important part of training – and Greg was happy to be back in his home town on his home town newspaper doing just that," she said.

Boyed's family said in a statement on Tuesday the TVNZ newsreader and father-of-two had been battling depression.

"We are all struggling to come to terms with this.

"He was absolutely loved and adored. A treasured son, brother, husband and father, he will be deeply missed."

Additional reporting - NZME

If you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, the best place to get help is your GP or local mental health provider. However, if you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call police immediately on 111.
Or if you need to talk to someone else:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (Mon-Fri 1pm to 10pm. Sat-Sun 3pm-10pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• Samaritans 0800 726 666