Jono Pryor weeps on live TV over death of friend

  • Updated
  • 17/03/2017

Jono Pryor from TV show Jono and Ben paid a tearful tribute on Thursday night to a friend who committed suicide after a battle with a mental illness.

At the close of Thursday night's show, Pryor and his partner Ben Boyce turned away from comedy and addressed the tragedy.

"A few days ago a very, very close friend of mine decided to take his own life," Pryor said.

"I just want say that what I've learned this week is that if you are suffering a mental illness no one thinks less of you... for sharing your thoughts, and no one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness and just talk about it."

Boyce then shared a hug with his distraught colleague.

Jono's opening up about the tragedy happened on the same day as The Rock host Bryce Casey made an emotional plea to listeners to seek help if they need it.

"I think a lot of lads need to get better at having this conversation. Today I'm off to bury and farewell a good mate," said Bryce.

"Sadly, the mate we're off to bury is another suicide. It's another bloke that was in his 30s, one of the 550 plus every year that sadly doesn't see any other option. But the problem is it seems like the whole matter is kept silent... people don't ever want to talk about it.

"This guy joins my brother-in-law and two other friends that have done the same thing. I wanted to [ask people] to take a bit of extra time to check on their mates. Just see if they're all good and if they're not - or maybe you're not - there is always people you can talk to.

"And if you do know [something is wrong], let heaps of other people know - their families, other mates - just so other people can reach out to them. Or else, when it's too late, all you're left with is a lot of questions and all you have is memories," said Bryce.

"It keeps happening to mates, brothers, sisters, mums and dads, kids, and it can be avoided. It happens too often and I'm sick of it."

Jono's heartfelt message drew a strong response on social media, with viewers praising his head-on approach to dealing with his friend's death.

If you feel you need help dealing with depression or a difficult time in your life, call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). Both are available 24/7.