Find­ing funny in men­tal health is­sues

Manawatu Guardian - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Nathan Hed­ley’s Search­ing for Hap­pi­ness is a com­edy show mixed with a Ted X talk which ex­plores his bat­tle with men­tal health.

He’ll be on stage next week at the Com­edy Hub in the Palmy Fringe Fes­ti­val PFF.

Nathan says he does com­edy to make peo­ple laugh. He was nom­i­nated for Emerg­ing Tal­ent at the Nel­son Fringe Fes­ti­val this year.

“Com­edy has helped me through tough times. I watched stand-up as a teenager and it helped me through the griev­ing process af­ter my brother died.”

Nathan’s one-man show is how he feels about the men­tal health sys­tem through his ex­pe­ri­ences of talk­ing to helplines and coun­sel­lors and go­ing to see doc­tors. He says com­edy has helped him through the bleak times and has been a mas­sive help with his men­tal health.

Search­ing for Hap­pi­ness isa roller­coaster of a ride, he says.

“If you want to see a show that will bring tears of hap­pi­ness and joy along with sad­ness then this is the show for you.

“It’s given me a place to talk about it in a light com­i­cal way where I make light of a bad sit­u­a­tion or I make light of how I feel about the men­tal health sys­tem.”

He says that stand-up com­edy is a great com­mu­nity, “like one big fam­ily that has given me the sup­port I needed”.

“I also think my show has touched a lot of peo­ple, as well as raised aware­ness about men­tal health.”

Nathan says he meets a lot of peo­ple who have been af­fected by men­tal health or who work in the men­tal health field.

“They tell me they loved the show or loved parts of it. Some have even said it was spot on and I’ve also made good friends with these peo­ple.

“I’ve had the priv­i­lege to work along­side a char­ity called Daisy Chain and I want to do more work for char­i­ties in the near fu­ture.”

He’s been do­ing stand-up for three years and is in­spired by co­me­dian Justin White and other in­ter­na­tional acts like Gabriel Igle­sias and Chris Ger­hard.

■ The Royal, 44 Ran­gi­tikei St, Oc­to­ber 8, 8.15pm; Oc­to­ber 9, 7pm.

■ Help line con­tacts ap­pear on page 2.

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