A free comedy course for men to combat mental health

STAND-UP comedy? While the idea might be surprising and terrifying, The Comedy Trust’s Feeling Funny course offers a unique approach to encourage men to become more open about their mental health by offering free stand-up comedy courses that aim to prove laughter really can be the best medicine. The Comedy Trust’s Feeling Funny comedy courses have been designed specifcally to help tackle the ongoing problem of some men not feeling able to seek support or advice when they are feeling low or experiencing a mental health issue. Using comedy as a vehicle, the Feeling Funny courses provide an alternative intervention for them to acknowledge that it’s okay to talk about feelings and acknowledge some of the issues but from a light hearted perspective. The course is led by professional stand-up comedian, Sam Avery who will teach participants skills and techniques which will enable them to write and perform their very own stand-up comedy routine. The course concludes with a showcase performance in front of an invited audience of friends and family. Even if participants decide not to talk about mental health it aims to provide a creative outlet for people to express themselves and support one another through the process which itself has theraputic benefits. The Comedy Trust are currently recruiting for the next Feeling Funny course which starts at the end of May 2017 and there are still a few places left. So, whether you fancy yourself as the next John Bishop or just trying something out that might lift your mood and give you something to tell your friends and family about, then get in touch. Sam Avery, from The Comedy Trust said: “The Feeling Funny courses have been a great opportunity for The Comedy Trust to develop its work around mental health and wellbeing. Having something targeted just at men is a different way from how we usually work but we recognise this kind of approach is needed to allow those men who do take part to feel less self-conscious and therefore more likely to open up.” “In all the work we do we’ve found that comedy allows people to tackle more serious and taboo topics, and talking about the issue can really help to break down the stigma and discrimination. Thanks to our funding from Liverpool Clinical Commission Group we hope we can really make a positive impact on the people who take part in our courses.” Feedback from the courses that have taken place so far has been very positive with participants stating how much the Feeling Funny course has helped them with their confidence and improved their mental wellbeing. They’ve also enjoyed the camaraderie that forms along the way and being part of a group where they are willing each other to do well. One participant who talked about his experience said: “The things I particularly enjoyed about the Feeling Funny course was working together to support one another, being able to have a laugh and proving to myself what I am capable of. The Feeling Funny course was the highlight of my week and I have massive sense of accomplishment since I’ve completed it.” The Comedy Trust, established in 2002, has the aims of ‘Creating Happier, Healthier People’. The organisation delivers a range of comedy and humour based community, education and health projects with young people, adults and individual who experience poor mental health and wellbeing. The Trust are also founders of the annual Liverpool Comedy Festival. For further information contact Charlene Davies at The Comedy Trust on 0151 702 5893 or email charlene@thecomedytrust.com