Stand Up For Mental Health

I've spent some time recently talking about an anxiety attack (of sorts) that I experienced a couple of weeks ago.  In one fell swoop, I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, my pulse was racing, and found myself curled up in bed trying to calm myself down.  My suspicion is that the episode was rooted in trauma experienced about 15 years ago.  It has helped to open up about it, and talk of the experience and the decisions I'm making to avoid these kinds of episodes in the future.


As I read about Some Other Solutions (SOS) bringing STAND UP FOR MENTAL HEALTH to Fort McMurray, I started wondering if my story, the trauma I went through all those years ago and the impacts it continues to have today, could make for an interesting stand up comedy routine.

There are lots of folks who deal with mental health issues all the time.  In some cases, you may have a sense as to who they are.  In other cases, you would never suspect that they are dealing with anything at all.  Unfortunately, the stigma of mental illness is significant, and any initiative to help destroy assumptions and create understanding is a good thing.  What SOS is offering today is worth checking out, especially if you have a story to tell that could help reduce the stigma.


Community members have an opportunity to work with world renowned therapist, comedian and mental health advocate David Granirer.


A counselor, stand-up comic, mental health keynote speaker and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success, Mr. Granirer teaches stand up comedy to people with mental illness or mental health issues as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.

"If you have bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health diagnoses and you want to turn them into stand up comedy, then you're a perfect fit for this program," said David.

By way of example, watch this short stand up presentation by Nelson Bardon, a fellow that lives with schizophrenia.  It's fantastic.



Very quickly, you can get a sense of how very personal struggles, shared openly in a safe, welcoming environment, can be therapeutic and funny.

"I am actually taking stand up comedy because it's allowing me to grow as a person," said Nelson.  "I'm hoping it will help me reach my full potential, (appropriate pause) 6-foot two."

In talking with Janene Hickman, Support and Wellness Counselor with SOS, STAND UP FOR MENTAL HEALTH is a program that they are very excited about.

"This is a great opportunity," she said.  "David Granirer will be joining us by Skype to kick-off the program and participants will have access to week by week coaching. Our goal is to offer a one-of-a-kind night of stand up comedy at the Keyano Recital Theatre in the fall, from local people who go through this program."

Today's event is from 1:30 to 3:30 at the SOS office on Manning Avenue, just across from the car wash.  If you want more details about the program, just call 780-743-8605 and ask for Janine.

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