Comedy Support Act

Mental Health


Mental health disorders very rarely come out of the blue. Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. Being a stand up is socially isolating and can be a lonely place but it doesn’t have to be. You may experience depression, anxiety or any number of ailments but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can get over it, get through it, live with it and recover.


If you think that you or someone you know may be in a mental health crisis here are some things to look out for:


-    Being more anxious, irritable or angry than usual


-    Not being able to concentrate or take decisions


-    Isolating themselves – not seeing their friends, dropping out of activities that they previously enjoyed


-    Appearing suspicious of friends and family


-    Being overly focused on certain things or being a perfectionist


-    Not eating or looking after themselves


-    Having disrupted sleep – which can mean not being able to sleep, or the opposite, sleeping too much.


Mental health problems are treatable and it’s important to get help as soon as possible because this can help to prevent problems becoming more serious and it can:


-    Improve the time it takes for a person to get well


-    Reduce the likelihood of the person having a relapse


-    Help to minimise the time a person might need to be away from school or college or their job.


-    Getting help early can also reduce the chances of someone reaching a crisis point and be so unwell that they cannot be cared for at home but instead, have to be admitted to hospital.


Understanding when someone might need help with a mental health difficulty is a sensitive issue and many people are worried about saying or doing the wrong thing.


If you are concerned that someone is developing a mental health problem, there are a number of things you can do to help them which include:


-    Encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling


-    Listening to them in a non-judgmental, non-critical way


-    Taking things at their pace


-    Reassuring them that you are taking what they say seriously


-    Offering to go with them to get further advice or information.



There are simple steps you can take to promote positive well being…


       Try to get out of the house

       Watch what you eat and drink

       Try to maintain contact with other people


This is simple advice but you would be surprised at how effective it is. When the laughter dies down and you find yourself on your own, you are not alone.


Disclaimer – The views in the above article are those of Writer and Stand Up Comedian JOHN RYAN.  Please seek independent help and advice on mental health issues from the organisations listed in the ‘Where to Get Help’ section below.   John Ryan is an award-winning Stand up and Writer. He worked in Community Care for ten years and has an M.A in Health and Social Policy.  




You can get help by picking up the phone and calling your GP.  You can access out of hours services run by the NHS and many other charities…


Rethink Mental Illness

Information on mental health for people with experience of mental illness and the people who care for them.



Offers a 24-hour helpline for anyone who is distressed or experiencing emotional problems.  Telephone: 08457 90 90 90   Email:


Support Line

Offers confidential support and advice by telephone, email and post.  Provides an A-Z listing of free factsheets about the problems and difficult issues many young people can face. Telephone: 01708 765 200   Email:


Mental Health Foundation




Access to Work Grant

If you’re finding it difficult to gig because of a mental health issue you may qualify for support with an Access to Work Grant.   Access to Work can help you to hire someone (Driver, P.A.) to enable your access needs and ensure you have practical support.

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