Stand Up For Mental Health
by Donna Jeanpierre
David Granirer believes laughter is the best medicine. That’s why the founder of Stand Up For Mental Health has teamed up with Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre to host an evening of stand-up comedy performed by people living with mental health issues in Thunder Bay.
“The comics I’ve been training for this show are amazingly funny. It’s incredible how far they’ve come in 6 weeks of classes,” says Granirer.
The show will be facilitated by Granirer, whose Stand Up For Mental Health program teaches stand-up comedy to people with mental illness or mental health issues as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.
The event is part of the Mental Health Awareness Week celebrations supported by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation and presented by the Mental Health/Mental Illness Awareness Committee. “Our goal is to continue to reduce stigma around mental illness and mental health and raise awareness of the productivity and accomplishments of people living with mental illness,” says Heather Kozak, Psychological Associate and Chair of the Committee.
After seeing the transformative power of learning to perform stand-up comedy for his Langara College students’ confidence and self-esteem, Granirer wondered if it could have the same impact on people living with mental illness.
That was the genesis of the Stand Up For Mental Health program in which participants with mental illness or mental health issues learn how to write and perform their own stand-up comedy material.
“They’re saying things they’re not supposed to and they get laughs about things that happened in their past,” says Granirer. “It’s a really powerful experience for a lot of people. It’s a great way of building confidence, dispelling shame and fighting public stigma.”
Granirer has partnered with mental health organizations throughout Canada, the United States, and Australia to offer Stand Up For Mental Health programs, performing for other mental health organizations, military bases, correctional facilities, government departments, corporations, and universities.
Don’t miss Stand Up For Mental Health: An Evening of Comedy on Thursday, May 7 at 7:00 pm at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. Seating is limited so please register in advance by calling 684-6430. When you register, please indicate if you require special assistance such as a wheelchair.
For more information about David Granirer, visit www.standupformentalhealth.com.