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Mike King and Mitch James talk to Kiwis on April 3

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Public safety comes first with mental health advocate Mike King cancelling all public events for Gumboot Friday, opting to directly connect with New Zealanders via Facebook Live from 9 am to 12 pm on April 3.

Mike King is joined by singer-songwriter Mitch James via his Sydney home, to answer questions, have a laugh, and sing a few songs.

"Postponing public events is the right thing to do. However more than ever, Kiwis need help, especially with so much uncertainty and anxiety. We remain committed to Gumboot Friday and will do everything we can to get Kiwis free counselling," Mike King said.

Last year Gumboot Friday raised $1.3m to provide more than 10,500 critical counselling sessions for more than 2,500 young New Zealanders.

This month Mike King and others embarked on a tour of New Zealand on tractors to raise awareness for Gumboot Friday, but the tour was halted due to restrictions on public events.

The Gumboot Friday initiative, which launched last year, aimed to raise five million dollars for free counselling. Mike King says he has switched his focus from donations to conversations to continue to fix the problem at a community level, but counselling is still key.

He calls New Zealanders to ask those closest how they are doing and to let them know they are not alone.

"The key thing for New Zealanders to do now is to look after themselves, their nearest and dearest and their friends. Gumboot Friday will still happen and I want everyone to use the day to check-in with their whanau to see if they're ok."

New Zealand's latest suicide statistics released by the Chief Coroner in August last year showed another annual increase. In the year to June 30, 685 people took their own lives - 17 more than the previous year.

Talk to Mike and Mitch on April 3 from 9 to 12 pm via Gumboot Friday Facebook.

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