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Published on Feb 12, 2009
Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy. However, Vancouver-based counsellor and stand-up comic David Granirer and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success offers it as a form of therapy.
Granirer, whose work was featured in the CBC VOICE Award winning documentary Cracking Up is the founder of Stand Up For Mental Health, a project where people with mental illness turn their problems into comedy, then perform their acts at a showcase.
Doing comedy about their illness builds participants self-esteem and helps reduce public stigma around mental illness, says Granirer, who himself suffers from depression. Laughing in the face of pain makes people go from despair to hope, and hope is crucial to anyone struggling with a mental illness.
Granirer got the idea for Stand Up For Mental Health from watching students in his Langara College Stand-Up Comedy Clinic course in Vancouver. Ive had students overcome long standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. Theres something incredibly healing about telling a roomful of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer.
Stand Up For Mental Health is now offered across Canada and in the US.