Over the next few posts, I would like to check in on some of our past Mental Health Heros in a “Where Are They Now?” series.  Mental Health and Humor – two subjects that did not seem to go together like oil and water.  No one knows that better than our 2011 Mental Health Hero, David Granirer. He is the Founder of Stand Up For Mental Health, a project teaching stand-up comedy to people with mental illness as a way of building confidence and fighting public stigma.  When I started blogging nine years ago in 2008,  I was worried about mixing humor and mental health. David was the first person I turned to for advice.

My apprehension was due to some others making fun of me and my peers depicting mental health issues from their point of view.  I wanted to share the humor from our point of view; that of someone living with a diagnosis.  I needed some validation that I was on the right path after reading his book (The Happy Neurotic: How Fear and Angst Can Lead To Happiness and Success) and I wrote to David Granirer and told him:

I’ve always known that my humor and cartoons would not be welcomed by everyone.  Some people are just not ready to laugh.  Others just don’t understand that it’s okay to laugh.  While still others just don’t get the humor! That’s okay!  My silly cartoons are not the important issue. What’s important is… we, peers living with mental illness, know it’s okay to find humor in our lives again. – Chato Stewart


— On Sun, 4/20/2008, David Granirer wrote:
From: David Granirer
Subject: Re: Mental Health Humor
To: “Chato Stewart”
Date: Sunday, April 20, 2008, 12:57 AM

Chato, great to hear from you.  I went to your site, I saw some of the comments, especially the one from someone who said they had a good sense of humor but was offended – which probably means you’re on the right track! 🙂



Where Are They Now: 2011 Mental Health Hero – David Granirer

 David is alway busy teaching peers, doing shows, getting award after award!  He recently received:  The Governor General of Canada Award– Meritorious Sevice Medal for work with Stand Up For Mental Health!  The best way to keep up with Dave is via his Facebook feed.