Mike King announces second Gumboot Friday amid 'disappointment' at $943,000 raised in last appeal

Mental health advocate Mike King has announced a second Gumboot Friday will be held in 2021 after the "disappointment" of raising $943,000 at the last appeal.

Last week, the former comedian announced he planned to host a second event in November to raise more money, as the mental health service was on track to churn through the total raised in June's appeal in just three months.

King on Monday said while he's grateful to all the organisation's supporters, he worries about what will happen when Gumboot Friday's funds run out and it's no longer able to provide free counselling for young people.

"I was really disappointed when I found out how much we actually raised because I truly believe we lifted people's expectations that the help is going to be there, when the reality is in three months' time, the money is going to run out," he said.

"What will our kids do then? The thought keeps me up at night. The families who contact me in fear for their children's lives or loved ones keep me up at night."

He says the increased funds required is a result of Gumboot Friday being on track for 100 percent usage growth on last year's levels, in response to a "gap in accessible mental health services for young people".

King has been highly critical of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Ministry of Health in recent weeks - even returning the NZ Order of Merit medal he was awarded in 2019 for services to mental health awareness and suicide prevention, citing a lack of progress in these areas.

He also expressed frustration after Gumboot Friday's appeal for Government funding was rejected in June, with the Ministry of Health saying the charity missed the application deadline.

While in last week's social media video King said "throwing shit at the Government" wouldn't get the charity anywhere, he was back at it on Monday, describing the Ministry of Health as "the bottleneck" and condemning it for not "getting behind innovation even when the proof is right in front of them".

"If it's not their pet idea they don't want to know," King said. "We started Gumboot Friday at the coalface in 2019 and already the impact is huge. The Ministry has a massive budget and little to show for it, spending more on consultants than we spend on counsellors.

"We have a proven, world-class system giving our young people access to counsellors they choose... Our average waiting times are six days, while the Health Ministry's is months.

"By our calculations, Gumboot Friday's is providing about 25 percent of the total equivalent access services provided by all of New Zealand's DHBs as reported in ministry websites. But somehow, we don't 'qualify' for funding."

King did not give a definitive date for the second Gumboot Friday appeal in 2021. However last week he indicated it was likely to be held on November 5.

"There's no Guy Fawkes this year, so let's call it 'Gumboot Friday with a bang'," he said at the time.

"But before I go about organising this, I really need to know if there's any will by you people watching to make this happen. Because God's honest truth is I'm tired. My team is tired, my family never gets to see me and we all feel like we're swimming up the creek against the tide.

"Everyone's yelling from the sidelines 'go, go, go' but no one is actually jumping in and helping."

He said he would organise another Gumboot Friday if his video was shared 50,000 times, as this would demonstrate there was enough buy-in from Kiwis. His Facebook video had been shared more than 35,000 times at the time of publishing.

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