The Funny Thing About Depression...


…is that it can be treated with humour.

Regular readers of this blog will know my interest in this topic. In March this year I delivered a 1-day workshop on the power of humour as a personal development tool. Read about the hilarious antics that ensued in Borat Comes to Queen’s University, Funny Peculiar or Funny Ha Ha?, and All Hail the Comedians!.

Now the scientific egg-heads have finally caught up with me. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. A comedian called John Ryan was recruited by Surry NHS Primary Care Trust to create a stand-up show about mental health. This wasn’t a stand alone cure of course; it was part of a larger production they were developing about suicide, depression and anxiety. This comes after Canadian comics used humour to break down the prejudices against those with mental ill health.

In case you think this is some sort of wacky, ‘more money than sense’ ploy by health providers to paste over the cracks, I would point out that there is good science behind it.

Humour gets people talking, and talking is possibly the single greatest treatment for depression in particular.

This is doubly the case where men are concerned. What man willingly signs up for a course of ‘talk therapy’ for depression or CBT (even though it is very effective)? Very few. But how many would enroll to hear a bit of live stand-up? Yes please!

Now, forget about all that, here’s my favourite depression joke!

Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline.
If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
If you are depressed, it doesn’t matter which number you press. No one will answer.
If you are delusional and occasionally hallucinate, please be aware that the thing you are holding on the side of your head is alive and about to bite off your ear.

[PS Don’t take any of this to mean that we take depression and mental health lightly. Dawn and I are both Sessional Trainers for Aware Defeat Depression, and spend some of our working life deliving Mood Matters and Depression Awareness Training.]

Image credit: Texas to Mexico.