Jono And Ben Paused The Jokes To Deliver A Powerful Message

Jono and Ben are mostly known for their slapstick humour screened on THREE, but last night they cracked open a different, much more serious side.

Jono Pryor stopped the humour towards the end of last nights program to pay a moving, emotional tribute to a close friend who committed suicide after a battle with mental illness.

“Before we go, we just wanted to take a quick moment. Our job is a bit of a laugh but sometimes serious stuff happens in our lives,” Ben Boyce began.

“A few days ago, a very, very close friend of mine decided to take his own life,” Pryor continued, before choking up and swearing under his breath.

Boyce patted him on the back and tried to keep up the casual-yet-serious attitude before Pryor interrupted.

“I just want to say one thing. What I’ve learnt this week is that if you are suffering a mental illness, no one thinks less of you for not talking, for sharing your thoughts,

“No one thinks less of you for sharing your thoughts, no one thinks less of you for taking your medicine, and no one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness,

“Just talk about it.”

Boyce then shared a right hug with his collegue as the show closed.

This was a rare moment of genuine emotion on the show, and I know it hit a lot of people hard, myself and everyone at the M2 office included. Jono didn’t put on a TV face to preach facts, he let his emotions through, raw and unadulterated. His voice broke and wobbled, and he didn’t let the show fade to black without saying what he wanted to say.

The show’s move to live screening has met its share of flak but there is no other way a message like this would have such potency. If it wasn’t live, there would be the nagging feeling that it could be scripted, fake. It’s clear that they intended to speak about mental illness, but no one could have predicted it would have packed quite the punch it did – because it went out live. It means that there are probably countless of conversations happening right now that wouldn’t be otherwise – over a cup of tea, gripped tightly with sweaty hands, or a long-distance phone call, or from employee to boss, taken to one side.

I’ve personally not been in such a situation as losing a close friend after a battle with mental illness but I know a great deal of people who have. Here at M2 we want to help, we want to make it known that, as a male, it’s okay to talk about your feelings. It’s absolutely not a sign of weakness.

While more women are likely to be diagnosed with a mental disorder and commit intentional self-hard, the male suicide rate is far higher, according to Ministry of Health statistics and Mental Health Foundations reports. Over 550 men every year commit suicide over a mental illness, and it’s easily preventable by simply talking about it. So ask your mates, ask your family, let them know the support is there. It’s not worth the lives lost, it’s just not worth it.

If you want to get information or support from other sources, here are myriad of brilliant services that offer 24/7 help, unless otherwise indicated.

Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354

Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54

Depression Helpline (24/7) – 0800 111 757

Healthline – 0800 611 116

Samaritans – 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)

Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What’s Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) – 0800 942 8787


www.thelowdown.co.nz – visit the website, email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626.

Cover image credit: THREE

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