Mike King breaks down over child suicide rates

Mike King

A tearful Mike King broke down on the radio discussing New Zealand’s latest suicide rate.

The system is broken and needs to be fixed urgently, he says.

Although New Zealand’s suicide rate has dropped for the third year, Māori continue to be disproportionately affected, statistics show.

The deputy-chief coroner released the figures to June 30, 2022. These showed 538 people died by suspected suicide, down from 607 in 2021 and 628 in 2020.

Despite the fall, King wants much more help. On The Rock’s Morning Rumble, the “I Am Hope founder” was in tears, saying, “If you put your faith in the system, there is a better than evens chance that your child will die.

“Because no one is coming. Now we can either sit around and we can whinge about it, or we can do one of two things about it – we can invest in our own system, which is Gumboot Friday, and if you can’t invest, stop being silent.

“You need to speak up about this.

“I am sick and tired of people coming up to me and saying, ‘I love your post Mike’.

“What, you mean the post where I wrote about the mum whose child has died?

“These posts aren’t meant to be for you to love.

“You’re not meant to love these posts; you’re meant to be hurt by these posts; you’re meant to be scared by these posts; you are meant to be horrified. You’re meant to be angry.

“Stop being silent and leaving it for other people to do it because other people are tired.

“I’m tired of all these … virtue signallers on social media telling me what I should be doing… I can’t do it…

“I hear parents talking all the time about kids leaving their socks on the floor … there are hundreds of families out there who would give anything for their kids’ socks to be on the floor …

“The system is f***ed up, and no one is doing anything about it.”

Clearly moved by his words, the Morning Rumble hosts rallied around King.

They stressed to him that he is making a difference with fundraising events for Gumboot Friday, a charity providing free counselling for young people in New Zealand.


Social media commenters sent supportive messages urging King not to give up on his work in the mental health sector.

Mike King has long been open about his frustrations over the funding of mental health services in New Zealand.

In June 2021, he returned the NZ Order of Merit medal he was awarded in 2019 for services to mental health awareness and suicide prevention. He cited a lack of progress in these areas as his reason for returning the medal.

It had repeatedly criticised both Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Ministry of Health over a lack of investment in mental health services.

It was also in June 2021, the Ministry of Health rejected funding for Gumboot Friday, saying it had applied “outside the planned procurement processes”.

Gumboot Friday, nonetheless, continues to raise funds and it takes place today, November 4.

People can donate $3 by texting Boots to 469 or make a financial contribution by other ways.

Every cent goes to counselling for Kiwi kids and young people.


Where to find help and support:

  • Shine (domestic violence) – 0508 744 633
  • Women’s Refuge – 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? – Call or text 1737
  • What’s Up – 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • Samaritans – 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council – 0800 742 584
Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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