Change A Mind About Mental Illness

Director Ron Howard lent his vision to this PSA, made possible by over 100 volunteers coming together with one simple goal, to change minds about mental illness.

October 21, 2009

Close & Personal: Dual Diagnosis

She was standing in the middle of Dixie’s living room when Molly and I walked in. She was holding a bottle of wine and made busy to get us some. “No, thank you,” I told her. She pushed. “No, thank you,” I told her again. She didn’t give up. Usually, just saying ‘no thank you’ gets the point across. But not this time. She tried to hand me a wine glass.

This was book club night, an evening with friends that, because I live quite a solitary life, I look forward to all month. I read the book for this month over a year ago and was sure I’d remember everything about it once the discussion began; I couldn’t have been more wrong. I couldn’t remember anything.

However, it isn’t the group I want to focus on, it isn’t the book or the eating or the yakking. It was this one woman, this pushy-with-alcohol woman, and myself. She is a summer person and neighbor of Dixie’s who threw the festivities this time and is someone none of us knew. In short, she isn’t from around here. She used the dreaded ‘C’ word to explain where she was from: California. Her nails were [...] continue the story

Cracking Up

People say laughter is the best medicine, but can it be used to treat severe mental illness? Exploring the therapy of laughter, Cracking Up provides a compelling view of how comedy can change the mind of an individual and the thoughts of a society.

Cracking Up follows the story of 11 courageous people who stand up for their mental health—literally! Using laughter as a form of therapy, counselor, comedian and author of The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead to Happiness and Success David Granirer trains these individuals who suffer from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and manic depression, to confront their problems through stand-up comedy. While learning to laugh at themselves, they get to share their stories and address public stigma with an audience that has a lot to learn about mental disorders.

Giving a face to mental illness, this documentary introduces audiences to inspiring individuals, such as Michael Warren who has both bi-polar disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Michael couldn’t speak properly until he was a teenager, but it hasnt deterred him from his dream to become a stand-up comedian. Likewise, Paul Decarie suffered traumatic injury to his brain and spine after falling off a [...] continue the story

The Bi Polar Buddha Set

Big Daddy Tazz performs at the CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival’s “The Best Medicine” series in 2006.

Suicide prevention campaigner shares cancer battle

The founder of R U OK?, Gavin Larkin, has cancer and only weeks to live. But the man behind the national day of action to prevent suicide took a positive approach to his illness and has been inspiring others.

Mr Larkin was the ultimate alpha male. He was a highly successful advertising executive with a seemingly perfect life except, as he says himself, he was a bit of a “”prick””.

“I am no saint. I have made all the great mistakes that human beings make and I have been a prick to some people throughout my life,” he told ABC1’s Australian Story.

Mr Larkin was also struggling with suicidal thoughts and decided he needed to change his life.

Three years ago he used his high-profile contacts to single-handedly create a national day of awareness called R U OK? Day.

The aim was to combat depression and suicide by encouraging people to check on the welfare of friends, colleagues and family. Mr Larkin was 26 when he lost his father to depression and suicide.

Within nine months, R U OK? Day had achieved levels of awareness about depression and suicide prevention that other organisations had failed to reach over the course of decades.

“It was a terrific advertising [...] continue the story