Outpouring of support for Jono Pryor following friend's suicide

There's been a huge outpouring of support for comedian Jono Pryor after he spoke about a friend's suicide in a heart-breaking display of emotion on live TV last night.

Now others have been stepping forward to tell their stories, and are encouraging people not to suffer in silence.

Pryor struggled to get the words out, but he was determined to get an important point across.

"No one thinks less of you for taking medicine and no-one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness, just talk about it," he told the audience on Jono and Ben last night.

His message has been met with praise from mental health groups.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Shaun Robinson says even in a crisis there is always hope.

"I myself am a survivor of a suicide attempt. I myself live with bipolar. I have a really fullfilling, flourishing life" he told Newshub.

He says the first step is to talk about it.

"It was the concern of a friend that saved my life."

Half of New Zealanders will have a mental illness at one time in their adult lives, and while most will get through it the suicide rate remains stubbornly high.

And the numbers are going up.  Last year 579 people took their own life.

Today the Rugby Union launched it's Head First campaign to tackle Mental Health in Rugby.

Former chiefs prop James McGougan opened up about his battle with mental health when his rugby career ended in 2011.

He said losing his career and support networks was the hardest part.

"I struggled silently. It was almost to my demise."

The message is, don't tough it out -  reach out.


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.