Musical album breaking the stigma of mental illness


“People with mental health issues and learning disabilities and the like can still do very good things.”

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Ian Morrison swears telling jokes saved his life.

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“It saved my life, without a doubt. If I didn’t have my jokes, I wouldn’t be here,” he said.

Growing up with a passion for comedy and drama, Morrison became a professional stand-up comedian at just 15, and after graduating from high school in Regina, he went to study comedy at Humber College in Toronto. .

But Morrison also lives with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder. Years later, he collapsed and ended up in the Phoenix Residential Society of Regina, a nonprofit that provides rehabilitation services to people living with mental illness, dementia and those without. chronic shelter.

The workers there encouraged Morrison to return to his passion for comedy and helped him start his own nonprofit called Healing Through Humor.

It was 11 years ago. Since then, Morrison has been the facilitator of Healing Through Humor, which is managed from the Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatchewan branch in Regina.

“I try to get as many people as possible to have fun and tell jokes too because it’s a lot of fun and it’s a good stress release and it’s a good way to express yourself.” , Morrison said.

Healing Through Humor offers programs for teaching comedy writing and performance to people living with mental illness. Morrison built the lineup himself, drawing on his own training and background as a comedian.

During an eight-week stand-up course, participants learn about 15 jokes and build their own beginner’s stand-up. The organization has also branched out into the creation of short films, music videos and musical comedy albums.

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“We wanted to show people that there are different ways to be funny. Some people can stand up and some can’t. Some people may also feel more comfortable the other way around, ”he said.

Now, Morrison is releasing the organization’s fourth musical comedy album, Thoughts of a Heavily Medicated Man. He described the album as an alternate mix of rap and punk and the songs themselves as “silly songs”.

Morrison created much of the album himself in collaboration with local musician and producer Justin Bender, and with the help of many people involved in the Healing Through Humor programs.

He hopes those listening to the album have a laugh or two while facing the stigma they have towards people living with mental illness.

“People with mental health issues and learning disabilities and the like can always do very good things. They just need to do it in a little different way or maybe need a little more time, but we can do it and do it well, ”Morrison said.

“That’s the kind of message we’re trying to send out there. Most people with mental illness are like everyone else. They just unfortunately have a disease.

The album Thoughts of a Heavily Medicated Man is released on October 4 and will be available on Apple Music and Spotify.

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lgiesbrecht@postmedia.com

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