You are here

Guest Post: David Granirer, Founder of Stand Up for Mental Health

By David Granirer, Counselor, Stand-Up Comic, and Founder of Stand Up For Mental Health (David Granirer will present during Mental Health America's 2013 Annual Conference at The Clifford Beers Awards Dinner).

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 is my program where I teach stand-up comedy to people with mental health issues as a way of building confidence, promoting recovery and fighting public stigma.

I got the idea from watching students in a comedy course I was conducting. Even though it has nothing to do with mental health, I've had students overcome long-standing depressions and phobias, not to mention increasing their confidence and self-esteem. One student told me she had a fear of flying, but that the day after our showcase she got on a plane and her fear was gone. She said, “Once I’d done stand-up comedy I felt like I could do anything!” I was inspired by hers and other similar feedback to give this experience to my people, those who had some sort of psychiatric disorder, mental illness, mental health issue, or whatever we call it these days.

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 wellness is the ability to see humor in adverse situations and the ability to laugh at yourself.

In mental health we talk a lot about restoring wellness by accessing people’s strengths, but nowhere do we say to someone, “You have a great sense of humor, let’s use it to build you up and give you confidence.” One of my comics who had schizophrenia found it extremely difficult to ride public transit. As she sat on the bus her voices would say things like, “Everyone knows that you’re a freak, they think you’re crazy.” After taking SMH she realized that she had a wicked sense of humor, and the next time she rode the bus she started joking with the other passengers. It was a great ride. She now had a skill that leveled the playing field between her and these so-called scary normal people. In other words she had achieved a state of wellness when it came to interacting with the outside world.

She also came to class one day wearing a striped shirt. She said that the voices hadn’t let her wear stripes for years but now that she was doing comedy she wasn’t so afraid of them. Another student who also had schizophrenia said that for about a week after we did a show his voices would either become quiet or actually tell him positive things. I’m not saying that comedy is the cure or magic bullet, but there certainly seem to be some interesting effects!

Almost as bad as having a mental illness is the shame that goes along with it. And shame is the opposite of wellness. But comedy helps people to achieve wellness because in comedy the more screwed up and dysfunctional you are, the better your act is going to be! This axiom creates a cognitive shift in the students. All of a sudden the very things they are ashamed of become wonderful resources that bring about a sense of wellness. They can’t wait to tell other people about the time they thought they were Jesus, or when they maxed out their Visa card and ran around naked!

All too often we see the process of achieving wellness as a serious and arduous task. But it doesn’t have to be. The folks at Mental Health America are devoting a whole conference to wellness—about the strategies and steps that promote well-being, including mine.

The truth is having a great sense of humor is good medicine. And that’s no joke.

Comments

Coach Cross Body Purses Coach.com Outlet Coach Outlet Handbags Bags Purses Outlet Stores -80%Off- Coach Factory Outlet Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Factory Outlet Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Outlet Online Coach Store Nearest You Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Store Coach Outlet Online Coach Factory Outlet Fall 2014 Coach Factory Save Big At Coach Outlet Stores Coach Handbags Outlet Coach Handbags And Other Designer Coach Factory Outlet Coach Factory Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Coach Outlet York Offer Coach Outlet Store Online Coach Outlet Store bags Coach Outlet Coach Outlet Store Online Fall 2014 Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Outlet Online Ohio State Strength Coach Coach Outlet Coach Outlet USA Coach Black Friday Coach Outlet Line Store Coach Shoes, Handbags, Flats, Boots, Flip flops Coach Factory Coach Factory Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade New York Handbags Kate Spade Handbags Amaz On Kate Spade Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Online Kate Spade Online Shopping Kate Spade Cyber Monday Kate Spade Black Friday Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Store 60 % Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Online Or Ln-Store Tiffany and co Tiffany co Star Lariat Necklace Jewelry Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors. Sign In Michael Kors Black Friday Black Friday Michaels Ad Michael Kors Handbags Sale Now Save Up To 68% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Apparel Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet 49.00 Michael Kors Outlet Online Michael Kors Outlet Online Sale Now Save Up To 68% Off Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors. Sign In Louis Vuiton Outlet Louis Vuiton Outlet Stores Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton Store Louis Vuitton Outlet Online Louis Vuitton Bags And Purses Louis Vuitton Outlet Stores Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store LV Bags Louis Vuitton Handbags Louis Vuitton malletier Louis Vuitton Black Friday Louis Vuitton Outlet Deals Louis Vuitton Outlet Louis Vuitton Store Malletier Prada Outlet Prada S.p.A. Is An Italian luxury Prada Handbags Prada Handbags at Bluefly Prada Black Friday Cheap Prada Outlet Online Handbags On Clearance Marc By Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs Handbags Celine Handbags Celine Handbags Nordstrom Celine Handbags How Much Are Celine Handbags Ray Ban Sunglasses Shop Ray Ban Sunglasses Online Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Oakleys Sunglasses Outlet Store USA With High Quality Ray-Ban Sunglasses Ray-Ban Is The Global Leader In Premium Eyewear Ray Ban Sunglasses Free Overnight Shipping & Returns Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Your Online Sunglasses Store Ray Ban Black Friday Ray Ban Black And Red Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Including Holbrook Oakley Sunglasses Oakley Sunglasses Outket Up To Oakley Vault Oakley Creates Free Oakley Black Friday 100% Authentic Oakley Sale Black Friday And The Discount Toms Outlet Toms Outlet Shoes Hollister Clothing Store Hollister Clothing Abercrombie And fitch Abercrombie 30% Off Coup On Abercrombie And Fitch Off 80% On Premium Eyewear Abercrombie Abercrombie Black Friday Abercrombie Black People Polo Ralph Lauren Ralph Lauren Outlet Polo Ralph Lauren Ralph Lauren Clearance Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Tory Burch Outlet Store Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Outlet Online Discount Price Tory Burch Outlet Discount Tory Burch Shoes Tory Burch Black Friday Tory Burch Black Wedge Nike Air Jordan All Michael Jordan Shoes Valentino valentino.com Toms Shoes Outlet Online Toms Outlet Supra Shoes supra.com True Religion True Religion Outlet True Religion Black Friday Black True Religion Jeans Women True Religion Jeans True Religion Outlet True Religion jeans True Religion Clothing Store Tiffany Black Friday Tiffany Cyber Monday Deals Frey Wille Jewellery Frey Wille Jewellery Prices Sac Longchamp Sac Longchamps Paris Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Shop For And Buy Red Bottom Shoes Online Red Bottom Shoes Red Bottom Shoes Save Up To timberland Shoes Off 70% Outlet Tiffany and co Tiffany and co Rings Tiffany and co Jewelry Tiffany Bead Bracelet With Pink Enamel Outlet Ralph Lauren Black Friday The Latest Ralph Lauren Apparel, Accessories 75% Off Website.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

2000 N. Beauregard Street,
6th Floor Alexandria, VA 22311

Phone (703) 684.7722

Toll Free (800) 969.6642

Fax (703) 684.5968

Text Resize

-A +A

The links on this page may contain document data that requires additional software to open: