John Ryan presented an excellent workshop last week at the University Centre Folkestone, on the use of comedy in promoting mental health.
John has created a show whose material is entirely based around mental health issues. John thinks men are especially bad at acknowledging mental health issues, both in themselves and in others. John recounted one experience where he had given the show at a fire station where none of the fire-fighters had thought they had any problems. After the show, and subsequent discussion, many started to realise that they had experienced depression or had suffered Post Traumatic Stress and even recognised problems amongst their friends. It’s this sort of grass roots approach that I think will really help getting these problems understood.
There are comics who have used mental health issues in their material. Richard Pryor gave a very painfully frank discussion of his addiction problems. I hope that in this laughter there is also an opportunity for people to contemplate and understand these terrible problems.
What a fabulous idea this is, and John is an excellent advocate. I hope John creates another show. I wonder if he could do one especially on addiction?
You can read more about John Ryan here: