In David Granier's Stand Up For Mental Health course, mental health consumers turn their problems into comedy, then perform their acts at conferences, treatment centres, psych wards, and for various mental health organizations.

“We use comedy give consumers a voice and help reduce the stigma around mental illness,” says Granirer. The idea is that laughing at our setbacks raises us above them. It makes people go from despair to hope, and hope is crucial to anyone struggling with adversity. Studies prove that hopeful people are more resilient and also tend to live longer, healthier lives.”

Granirer, who himself suffers from depression, got the idea for Stand Up For Mental Health from watching students in his Langara College Stand-Up Comedy Clinic course. “Though Stand-Up Comedy Clinic isn’t intended as therapy, I’ve had students overcome long standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. There’s something incredibly healing about telling a roomful of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer.”

Stand Up For Mental Health has a group of comics in Vancouver, and is also offered through the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario in Toronto. Granirer also trains comics in different cities across the country in conjunction with organizations like the Canadian Mental Health Association and then has them perform at public events and fundraisers.

“There’s something amazing about having clients from your organization take the stage at an event and rock the house,” says Granirer. It’s incredibly empowering and a great way of fighting public stigma. Most so-called normal people would never want to do stand-up comedy. Seeing people with mental illness do it forces the audience to re-evaluate their perceptions and biases against people who are mentally ill.”

If you are interested in booking the Spark of Brilliance, Stand Up for Mental Health Comics, please contact Judith Rosenberg at 519-766-4550 ext. 237 or for more information.


The Comics: