Insight With Beth Ruyak

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A Homegrown Comedy Show Shines a Light on Suicide, Depression

Courtesy of 1 Degree of Separation

The comedians behind the 1 Degree of Separation comedy show

Courtesy of 1 Degree of Separation

Suicide and comedy: it may seem like an unlikely pairing. But a Sacramento comedian has found a way to marry these topics on stage. He’s made the struggle with mental health and suicidal thoughts the centerpiece of a comedy showcase. It’s called 1 Degree of Separation: A Funny Look at Depression and Suicide,” and includes a lineup of comedians who aim to destigmatize discussion around depression and suicide.

Comedian Brad Bonar Jr. knows that there is no one way that depression and other mental health issues look. They can impact anyone at different life stages, and he can trace his own depression as far back as sixth grade. Now in his 50s, he recently found a note from his childhood where he expressed the desire to no longer live. That discovery led him to examine the taboo topics in discussions around mental health. The result: 1 Degree of Separation—part stand-up showcase, part panel discussion about the performers’ own experiences with depression and suicide.

The show’s structure was informed by Bonar’s interviews with psychologists, psychiatrists and others in the mental health field. It features a five-minute set from each comedian, followed by a panel conversation where they cover five questions about mental health. The May 29 Laughs Unlimited show will feature comedians Sydney Stigerts, Carlos Rodriguez and Steph Garcia.

If you’re thinking about suicide or know someone who is, call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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