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August 23, 2016 by David Granirer, Counselor, Stand-Up Comic, & Founder of SMH

When Mental Health Is A Laughing Matter

Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy. I offer it as a form of therapy. And it’s not as crazy as it seems. Stand Up For Mental Health (SMH) is the program where I teach stand-up comedy to people with mental health issues as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.

Cracking Up Trailer

Trailer: Cracking Up, the VOICE Award winning documentary about Stand Up For Mental Health

Since I began it in 2004, I’ve trained approximately 500 comics in partnership with mental health organizations in over 35 cities in Canada, the U.S., and Australia. We’ve also performed over 500 shows on military bases, for correctional facilities, Veterans Affairs, universities, colleges, government departments, corporations, medical schools, and comedy and arts festivals.

I myself have depression, and there’s no better medicine than laughter. One of my comics who has taken numerous drugs, including crystal meth, said it’s the best high she’s ever had – it’s free, legal, and has no side effects. Oh yeah, and it’s fun! It’s the best kind of wellness activity I can think of. As a matter of fact, I believe that a key component to recovery is the ability to see humor in adverse situations and the ability to laugh at yourself.

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