'Crying's better than dying': Kiwis must break 'archaic' view of depression - Kiwi actor Rob Mokaraka

Rob Mokaraka is on a mission to get New Zealanders to open up about depression.

He's  known for his work in TV, film and theatre - but the act he became most famous for was trying to commit suicide by police in 2009. 

His plan failed, and after recovering he wrote a play about it called Shot Bro - Confessions of a Depressed Bullet.

He spoke to The Project about the need to shine a line on mental health in New Zealand.

"We need to illuminate this problem, because it grows in the shadows and the silence, so we need to illuminate it, we need to put heaps of aroha and light on it so we can educate ourselves," he says.

"I've got people who, when I'm feeling suicidal or just have the thoughts, I have three people I can talk to."

Mr Mokaraka says he wouldn't wish being shot at on his worst enemy, and now believes "crying is better than dying - and it's okay to ask for help".

He had an epiphany after the incident and the pain that it put him through.

"I knew I just should have spoken. Some people don't get to come back and have that second chance. I have."

Mr Mokora says "we have to break down this archaic mentality that we shouldn't talk about our feelings".