King talks de­pres­sion to stu­dents

South Waikato News - - NEWS / OPINION - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Mike King bared his heart and soul when he vis­ited the South Waikato as the face of the Key to Life Char­i­ta­ble Trust.

The for­mer co­me­dian who suf­fers from de­pres­sion took on stu­dents from Pu­taruru Col­lege and For­est View High School on sep­a­rate vis­its and de­liv­ered his ex­pe­ri­ences in a two hour ses­sion on June 10.

He also ap­peared on lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion Youth FM and gave a public talk at the Sports and Events Cen­tre.

His mes­sage told of how he over­came drug and al­co­hol ad­dic­tion, and his con­tin­ued bat­tle against de­pres­sion.

The idea to speak to stu­dents came about 21⁄ years ago when he

2 did a one-off visit in North­land to two schools.

It was so pop­u­lar, he was in­un­dated with in­vi­ta­tions to speak.

‘‘Since then I’ve spo­ken to a hun­dred odd schools across the coun­try.’’

It’s been quite a jour­ney for the 53-year old who has a unique view on the younger gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘The fact of the mat­ter is that this is the most amaz­ing gen­er­a­tion . . . and no one is lis­ten­ing.’’

When he started it was all about try­ing to fix them, he said, but that wasn’t the way to go.

‘‘I went from al­ways risk man­ag­ing kids to see­ing the po­ten­tial.’’

His wise words and bru­tally hon­est tales ap­peared to have got­ten through to stu­dents.

‘‘ It never shocks them, it sur­prises them in a good way . . . at last there’s some­one telling them the truth.’’

At the Pu­taruru Col­lege visit, King could hardly keep up with hands fly­ing up across the hall.

He said he’s al­ready been con­tacted by ‘‘a dozen’’ kids since his visit to the South Waikato.

‘‘Scary’’ as it is to be ap­proached by youth with ‘‘ huge prob­lems’’, King said he can help them un­der­stand and guide them to get help just like he has. For­mer co­me­dian Mike King, mid­dle, vis­ited Pu­taruru Col­lege stu­dents in the Key to Life cam­paign. Pic­tured is: Michelle Hamil­ton, left and Pare­huia Walker.

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