Mental health advocate Mike King has apologised today after directing negative comments towards Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield.
King made the apology via social media after appearing this morning on the AM Show.
"I made the comment that 'Dr Ashley Bloomfield was a nasty little man who was killing our kids',” King admitted.
"I was very tired and emotional this morning after spending several hours in A&E with a young person who attempted suicide and I obviously wasn’t thinking straight.
"I deeply regret making that accusation and I apologise to Dr Bloomfield unreservedly.
"Thankfully the young person is okay and we are providing the help they desperately need," King said.
Speaking to 1 NEWS today, King said he'd had very little sleep and regretted his comments towards Bloomfield.
"I should never have said that, it was just a really long night, no sleep.... This is my life," he said.
King said he had done a "full day" of talks in Palmerson North yesterday and was on his way to Hamilton today to do more.
Asked whether he might be burning out, King replied he was "fine".
"I’m fine – this is every day for me. I have hundreds of text messages on my phone telling me to rest but if you stop doing it, people die."
"If I hadn’t been there last night that kid would have died," King said.
He was at the hospital with the young person until about 2.30am when one of his ambassadors came and took over for him.
"If people really care and people really want to help, please donate to Gumboot Friday so kids can get the help they need.
"Then they will stop calling me," King said.
He said he fields calls, texts and emails daily from people reaching out to him for help.
"I'd get at least 10 or 20 texts or phone calls a day," King said.
"I have 344 emails from people I haven't gotten back to."
He said he started work today at 12pm and already has 24 texts and 12 missed calls.
King said the Gumboot Friday charity has about half a dozen ambassadors around the country but there is demand for more.
"We don’t have enough money to pay them. Until that happens we've just got to continue to work for free."