'Don't have much purpose': Duncan Garner and Mark Richardson open up on mental health struggles

Vids 11/05/2020

The AM Show hosts Duncan Garner and Mark Richardson have revealed their struggles with mental health during an emotional on-air discussion about their fears and anxiety amid the COVID-19 crisis.

After advocate Mike King appeared on the show to discuss mental health coming out of COVID-19 lockdown, Garner spoke of his battle over the past six weeks.

He'd reached out to various agencies to "help him get through some issues", he explained.

Richardson added how useful it was to have King on the show, before opening up about his struggles.

"I love to go surfing, absolutely love it," Richardson said. "I haven't been able to go and all of a sudden yesterday [Sunday] afternoon I realised the surfing conditions were going to be pretty good, and for some reason I was going, 'I can't be arsed'."

While the sports reader admitted he was "happier" just wandering around home, he was determined to force himself to go for a surf - and he did.

"I drove back thinking 'thank god you did that'," he said. "I have spent seven to eight weeks worrying. Worrying about my family, worrying about my job - worrying about my mates.

"I've questioned, over the last seven weeks, someone can only take so much of this degree of low-level anxiety and constant worry for so long."

"It's a horrible feeling and I'd say there's a lot worse things being experienced than just a little bit of anger from people out there. There's despair, there's frustration."

Garner added that he slept until 11am on Sunday, "When do I ever do that?

"I've found I don't have much of a purpose, apart from coming to work. What's the purpose?"

Garner and Richardson weren't alone with newsreader Amanda Gillies revealing she too was having some struggles.

"Mine is nausea and I've never really had that in my life," Gillies told her co-hosts. "Because it's been that low-level anxiety and because it's now been seven weeks, that's how it's manifesting itself."

PM showed 'lack of understanding' - Richardson

Richardson also responded to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling him an "angry person", saying she showed a "lack of understanding".

He was critical of Ardern's Government on Thursday, saying he would be a better Prime Minister.

"I wonder what New Zealand under Mark Richardson would look like," Ardern told The Rock's Morning Rumble on Friday in response. "I don't know if that's just because he does mornings, and mornings are tough but he's a pretty angry person."

Richardson said he took the remark personally.

"When someone comes on, who's meant to be at the forefront of this, and makes fun of me being an angry person at the moment, I take that as a very very insensitive thing to say and a lack of understanding from someone who I think should understand a lot better than that."

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)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584