'We have so much to be grateful for': Mike King's advice to survive the lockdown

Mike King says the best way to survive the nationwide lockdown is to be grateful for what you've got and focus on the moment.

This year, the comedian and mental health advocate will be holding Gumboot Friday - an initiative to raise money to help support those with depression - online.

As part of the fundraiser, King and others embarked on a tour of the country on tractors earlier this month, but after restrictions were put on public gatherings - and the country later put on lockdown - the tour was replaced with a Facebook Live event.

The online event will be held from 9am to 12pm on Friday and will focus more on raising awareness than money.

"This year given the crisis that's going on we've taken the emphasis off money," King told The AM Show on Friday.  

"I think it's just a bit hard asking people to donate money when they're not sure if they've got jobs, and we all know that the poorest give the most so our key message this year is give responsibly."

Throughout the online event, King will be giving tips to parents on how to help their children stay mentally healthy throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

"I think if we all start connecting with our kids again and valuing them and validating their thinking and finding out what's going on in their little heads by giving them our time most of them won't need counsellors."

Last year, Gumboot Friday raised $1.3 million to provide more than 15,000 counselling sessions for thousands of young Kiwis.

As part of the campaign, King is calling on people to check in on those closest to them and let them know they are not alone.

"For a lot of our kids what they need is an ear but we're always so busy with our busy lives and our busy jobs that we don't have the time - well guess what, we've all got the time now so let's put our time in and our efforts into supporting our kids."

In recent years, King has been open about his own battles with depression and says he is acutely aware that in testing times like these it can be difficult to keep anxiety at bay.

"Anxiety is caused by stressing over what you have no control over in the future, the pressure of reflecting on a whole lot of things that have gone wrong in the past and going over and over on them until eventually it drives you into the ground," he said.

"Being worried about what we're in at the moment is a bit like worrying about a traffic jam - no matter what you think sitting in your car, it ain't going to get rid of the traffic jam." 

King says the antidote to such feelings is focusing on the now and being grateful.

"Everything's about getting into the moment," he said.

"Every single one of us would give up everything we own to save one of our kid's lives, so that puts everything into perspective. If your kids are still with you, if your family and your loved ones are still with you, then you've got so much to be grateful for - don't wait for a tragedy to happen before you have all of those feelings. 

"Get those feelings now and really live in the moment. It's a hard thing to do but if you practise it over and over again it gets easier.

Gumboot Friday's Facebook Live event can be found here.

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)