The National Health Service (NHS), the publicly funded healthcare system in the UK, is set to start prescribing a 6-week stand-up comedy courses to help to men at risk of suicide “see the funny side” of things after a pilot program for trauma survivors proved successful.

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“That inspired me to prove that the models, exercises and games used in a standup comedy course can help people to recover from emotional problems such as mental illness, postnatal depression, PTSD and anxiety disorders,” she said.

After completing a highly successful six-week NHS course for trauma survivors in Bristol, Comedy on Referral has now won NHS funding to help men at risk of suicide in London. [Angie] Belcher is also in discussions with a private practice to extend the course to young people with autism and ADHD.

“My course for trauma victims encourages them to process their trauma in a different way, so they can change who the victim is and choose the narrative. They can actually go right down into ‘This is what I was thinking and then this thing happened to me’,” said Belcher.

“This enables survivors to consciously use comedy to change their perspective of their experiences, but it also puts them in a physically powerful position because being on stage is very powerful,” she said. “You can speak directly to an audience about important things, which means you have the opportunity to change their lives. As a comedian, you could be the reason why someone in your audiences does something differently.” »

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With a background in psychology, Belcher knows the benefits of airing experiences or feelings that we’d sometimes rather keep hidden. Find humour in them and those benefits grow. What’s Mickey Mouse’s line? “To laugh at yourself is to love yourself.”

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