I Will Listen. I Will Laugh.
As the Director of Health Promotion for Giggle On®, I am PSYCHED to be attending the educational and uplifting I Will Listen event on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 in Philadelphia’s iconic Love Park. The “#IWillListen” campaign was launched by National Alliance on Mental Illness in 2013 in an effort to support the 1 and 4 Americans who experience mental health disorders each year. By establishing a framework to talk about mood disorders in a non-judgmental way, NAMI hopes to break down barriers which often separate those with mental illness with those who do not have mental illness. NAMI and Giggle On share a common goal. Both organizations aim to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, mood disorders and suicide.
Having been impacted by mental illness directly and indirectly, one of the things that helped me cope and heal was laughter. As a recent college graduate with a Masters in Health Promotion and a previous employee of student health, there is a critical need to address the issue of mental health within college students as supported by this national data from the American College Health Association.
Christa Scalies, Giggle On’s Founder, understands that laughter isn’t just a tool for healing and coping. Laughter is a tool to break down barriers, open lines of communication, create positive bonds between people and cultivate supportive relationships.
One of my favorite quotes about the power of laughter is…
People with mood disorders want to be loved, understood and listened to. Perhaps you have a friend or relative struggling with a mood disorder? What can you do to help them?
- You can listen to them, without judgment.
- You can laugh with them, without conditions.
- You can love them, no matter what.
Imagine what the world would be like if we all listened to one another, laughed together and loved without judgment?
My goal Tuesday is to listen to people’s stories without judgment and show compassion. I also intend to promote joy and laughter as wellness tools in an effort to help people lessen their symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Christa knows what it feels like to be misunderstood about a mental health matters, namely her experience with depression and the loss of her two friends to suicide. We are both ready to listen to you. We are also ready to encourage you to LAUGH MORE! Look for us in the crowd. We will roaming Love Park and asking people: “How do you get your #GiggleOn?” Come join us Tuesday. We will listen. We will laugh. Will you?
In friendship and laughter,
Brittany Van Sickle, M.S., Director of Health Promotion, Giggle On®