Just by lis­ten­ing, you’re help­ing

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - LAWRENCE GULLERY

Peo­ple fol­low­ing the path­way to de­pres­sion will en­counter sim­i­lar warn­ing signs along the way.

It in­volves self doubt, low self es­teem, as they strug­gle to talk about the prob­lems hold­ing them back in life.

But the path­way out of de­pres­sion is a dif­fer­ent jour­ney for ev­ery­one. Some turn to sport, fit­ness and health and for oth­ers it’s about re­li­gion.

‘‘Ev­ery time some­one tells their story about get­ting out of de­pres­sion it’s like throw­ing a lad­der into a dark hole,’’ said Mike King.

‘‘The jour­ney out of that dark place is dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one, and that’s the im­por­tant part to un­der­stand.’’

The former stand-up co­me­dian and tele­vi­sion pre­sen­ter was the guest speaker at a spe­cial assem­bly at Mata­mata Col­lege, shar­ing his per­sonal story about his bat­tle with de­pres­sion.

He hoped to in­spire stu­dents to look af­ter one another and long term, change the com­mu­nity’s at­ti­tude to­wards men­tal health is­sues.

‘‘My chal­lenge to ev­ery­one in this room to­day is to reach out to your friends and tell them you love them.

‘‘I’ve been to way too many fu­ner­als of peo­ple who have taken their own lives, and you hear peo­ple de­clare their love for them.

‘‘That’s no good be­cause they’re gone. You’ve got to de­clare your love now.’’

King un­der­stood stu­dents telling each other they cared might not ap­pear to be the coolest thing to do.

‘‘But what you’ve done - if they’re strug­gling - is to plant a seed in their head. They’ll re­alise that, ‘some­one cares about me’.’’

King said it was im­por­tant be­cause men­tal health was the only health prob­lem in the coun­try where a per­son in cri­sis had to find their own help.

King pre­sented the assem­bly with a set of white wrist bands which would iden­tify those wear­ing them as peo­ple who were will­ing to help oth­ers.

‘‘This is a wrist band that says, I am hope. If you are wear­ing this, what you are say­ing is that if peo­ple are in a bad place, come and see me. I will not shame you or judge you or talk about you to any­one else.

‘‘If you want to go and get some help, I will come with you.’’

King had been in­vited to speak at the district’s col­leges, and a com­mu­nity meet­ing, by Mata­mata-Pi­ako Vol­un­teer Youth Am­bas­sadors.

Mike King mak­ing some new friends at Mata­mata Col­lege, with Stan­ley Mayo, T-Rel­lis Tu­tua-Nathan and Wil­liam Louch.

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