Tuesday, May 6, 2008

From The Windsor Star ...

Comedy helps group to cope with their demons
Doug Williamson
Windsor Star

Depression. Alcoholism. Chronic pain. Failed relationships.

Serious subjects, but fair game for a group of budding standup comedians who showcased their talents Monday night.

After practising their routines for two months, seven people suffering from mental illnesses took the stage at the Caboto Club for the kickoff of Mental Health Week, organized by the Windsor-Essex County branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

"I went a whole year without laughing or smiling, I just wanted to die," said Denise Jackson of Windsor, one of the neophyte comics who performed at the Caboto Club, and who is being treated for bipolar disorder.

"The message I'm trying to share is there's hope," said Jackson, 45. "Whatever people are experiencing, people have experienced it before. I'm just doing what I need to take care of myself."

People with mental illness also suffer from the effects of misplaced public perceptions, said Vancouver comedian and counsellor David Granirer, founder of Stand Up for Mental Health, a group which advocates using comedy to empower the mentally ill.

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