Reducing stigma around mental health with comedy

Kamloops community standing up for mental health with the screening of Cracking Up

Stand up for those with mental illnesses by participating in the screening of Cracking Up this Thursday at the Paramount Theatre. (Matthias Wagner/Unsplash)

In celebration of Mental Health Week, the Canadian Mental Health Association along with the Kamloops Self Advocate Krystian Shaw will be hosting award-winning Stand Up for Mental Health project creator David Granirer and screening his documentary, Cracking Up.

Kamloops Self Advocate founder Krystian Shaw hopes that bringing Granirer to Kamloops will open opportunities for similar projects in the community; further erasing the stigma around mental illness and diverse disabilities.

“After the documentary showing, we hope to start up a future training program for Kamloops residents,” Shaw said. “It will involve recruiting and supporting participants to learn stand-up comedy as a way of dealing with their personal mental health issues in hopes of reducing barriers regarding mental illness.”

In the documentary, Cracking Up, audiences will follow Granirer as he leads a group of stand-up newbies through a comedy boot camp with the goal of bringing light to their personal struggles in a safe environment.

“There’s something incredibly healing about telling a room full of people exactly who you are and having them laugh and cheer,” Granirer said.

The Stand Up for Mental Health project is not intended as therapy but rather a safe place for those to speak of their lives in a respectful and stigma-free environment.

Cracking Up offers the audience the hope that recovery is possible with this light-hearted approach.

Shaw noted that projects such as this have been active all over the world and are new to the Kamloops community.

After the film screening, Granirer will be hosting a Q&A for those present; speaking about his work with Stand Up for Mental Health.

Tickets for this event will be a minimum $10 donation with all proceeds going towards the Canadian Mental Health Association to help bring Granirer and Stand Up for Mental Health to Kamloops.

Limited complimentary tickets will be available for those in difficult financial situations and those with diverse disabilities that could limit their access. Shaw encourages the inclusion of all communities.

“I want to include everyone because they could comedians one day,” expressed Shaw.

The film screening will be presented at the Paramount Theatre on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. Donations will be accepted at the door.