Mike King best known as a stand-up comedian and TV personality took on subjects of a much heavier nature yesterday in Masterson at the UCOL Wairarapa campus.
Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson's introduction set the tone for the talk delivered to more than 100 young people. "Mike comes with a message of hope... he is validating our young people and raising awareness about serious issues facing our youth today - depression and mental health."
Mike then burst to life and covered very confronting matters in humour and seriousness, many of which were from personal experience and the talk resonated with the audience. Key to Life is working with schools and communities to talk with youth, engaging them in conversations so they these topics won’t continue to be swept under the carpet.
The team aims that through conversation that positive social change can happen, including reversing the numbers of depression and suicide in our young.
At the age of 11 Mike had very low self-esteem, he described it as having two inner voices, one trying to build him up and the other knocking him down. He struggled with depression and addiction for more than 40 years, until one day in 2007, he hit rock bottom and told a friend.
This friend empowered Mike to see a counsellor so that he could get the tools he needed to start on a road to recovery.
Jason Crafar, Campus Manager for Wairarapa said “It was heartfelt to see the time Mike took talking to young people, it wasn’t just during the presentation, he stayed around after and talked one-to-one with students as well. Here at UCOL we are committed to our student’s health and welfare – students and staff, who may have questions or concerns and want to talk to someone following yesterday's presentation can do so through Wellbeing Services
Mike came off the stage five years ago, in those years since he has stood up in front of 180,000 young New Zealanders, with humour, vulnerability and a message of hope. “People don’t speak up about these issues because of ‘judgement’” Mike told the crowd “We need to share, so that others can share… everyone has problems… starting the conversation is important”