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Mike King blown away by success of gumboot fundraiser aiming to raise cash for free mental health counselling

A new social media campaign has raised more than $20,000 for mental health in just under 48 hours.

Kiwibank has partnered up with Mike King’s #GumbootUpNZ initiative, aiming to give young Kiwis access to free counselling.

They’ve created a frame Facebook users can add to their profile picture and Kiwibank will donate $1 to the #GumbootUpNZ fund for every New Zealander who uses it.

The idea appears to have gone viral and shows no sign of slowing down.

“The response has blown us away. It’s clear this is resonating strongly and something Kiwis really care about,” said Kiwibank’s brand manager Kim Waghorn.

Mike King also expressed disbelief at the campaign’s rapid success.

“It was beyond what I thought was possible,” he said. 

Gumboot Friday will be held on April 5 this year and was born out of the idea that depression is like walking through mud everyday. Members of the public are encouraged to wear gumboots all day to show their support for young New Zealanders struggling with their mental health. 

Mike King’s charity 'I Am Hope' will use the funds donated to facilitate free mental health support for Kiwi kids up and down the country. 

Earlier this month, Mr King was named 2019 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year, recognised for his work as a mental health advocate.

He has been praised for using his own experiences with depression, alcohol and drug abuse to bring these issues into the public eye. 

It’s hoped the enthusiastic response on Facebook will continue to surge, with Kiwibank committing to up to $50,000 towards the cause. 

The Mental Health Foundation is pleased to see Kiwis getting behind this initiative, but says free support always runs the risk of being unsustainable.

“We are always supportive of more free counselling but access is inconsistent and waiting lists are often very long,” said the organisation’s chief executive, Shaun Robinson.

Mr Robison told 1 NEWS they believe all counselling should be free to New Zealanders, calling on the Government to step up and start funding the services.

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King won for his work as a mental health advocate. Source: 1 NEWS