A mental health campaigner who helped thousands of people overcome their struggles has died in a suspected suicide.
The sudden death of Dr Tom Mulholland, 61, on Sunday was confirmed by his family on social media the following day, with the case being referred to the coroner.
The famous New Zealand doctor has hosted numerous television and radio shows, written two best-selling books and served as a speaker.
This follows a distinguished medical career during which he worked as an emergency and general practitioner for over 25 years.
He also started his own GP practice, founded Taranaki’s first White Cross medical and accident clinic, launched Doctor Global, held occupational health seminars and was an honorary lecturer in psychological medicine at the University of ‘Auckland.
Renowned New Zealand doctor and mental health advocate Dr Tom Mulholland (pictured), 61, died suddenly on Sunday.
Dr Mulholland’s son Tommy Mulholland announced in a social media post that his father’s funeral was being planned in Wellington.
“This is a loss for many people and we are all devastated. He was a lifelong advocate for mental health and dedicated much of his life to this cause,” he wrote.
Tributes have been posted by friends, family, former colleagues and many others who knew the beloved doctor, who died just two days before World Mental Health Day.
Presenter Brooke Howard-Smith described Dr Mulholland as a “hero” in a moving tribute shared on Facebook.
“We lost one of our best and brightest stars, a tower of goal who had so many necessary tools at his fingertips,” he said.
“Dr. Tom Mulholland will always be a hero of mine and I guess for the thousands of people he inspired and helped, thousands whose lives he changed forever.”
“An incredible life, and ultimately the most important lesson. Whatever you feel, no matter how alone you are, I guarantee others feel the same way. Please contact us.
“For now, buddy, know that we are so proud of you and the incredible life you lived. The world will truly miss you.
Moving tributes were shared by friends, family, former colleagues and many others who knew the beloved doctor (pictured left).
Medical entrepreneur, fellow physician and author Sam Hazledine also shared an online article addressed to Dr. Mulholland.
‘I’m sad. I’m confused. And to be honest, I’m a little angry,” he began.
“He was Tom to me, but to the world he was Dr Tom Mulholland, ‘The Attitude Doctor’.”
“Tom was the definition of ‘larger than life.’ With a gregarious personality and a huge heart, Tom had a positive impact on the lives of everyone he met.
“But in the end, I guess it wasn’t enough. He had demons, like all of us, and I guess two days ago they had too many for him. Whether it was an intense spur of the moment or a longer term thing, I don’t know.
“But I wish I knew. I wish I was a better friend and had delved deeper beneath that exuberant exterior.
Dr Hazledine revealed he spoke with Dr Mulholland just weeks before his death and said he ‘looked good’ and there was ‘no indication he was struggling’ .
“That booming voice answering the phone with a ‘Dr. Sam!’ I will miss my enthusiasm. I don’t understand why he left, but I hope that wherever he is, he found peace,” he added.
“Goodbye Tom. I love you buddy.
In recent years, Dr Mulholland (pictured right) has traveled across New Zealand carrying out health checks on Kiwis wherever he goes.
Robert Kydd, emeritus professor of psychological medicine at the University of Auckland, said Dr Mulholland was a passionate and tireless campaigner for mental health.
“He was particularly innovative in the way he tried to provide services,” he said, as reported by Herald of New Zealand.
“He worked extensively in rural areas, driving his mental health ‘ambulance’ and speaking to farmers about the importance of looking after the ‘top paddock’ – their mental health.”
“Personally, he was warm, friendly and caring. I will miss his spontaneous phone calls, wanting to discuss a new idea. We will miss him.’
In recent years, Dr Mulholland traveled around New Zealand in an old ambulance and a boat that served as a pop-up medical clinic so he could carry out health checks on thousands of Kiwis wherever he went.
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