“Funny Bone” is back. Visit The Baby Grand in Wilmington on Thursday, Feb. 8, for a night of comedy to benefit the Mental Health Association in Delaware (MHA). Emceed by funny man James Mattern—host of the original “Funny Bone” in 2016—the program incudes performances by Alyssa Al-Dookhi, Dante Carter, Chip Chantry, Belynda Cleare, Paul Corrigan, Rachel Fogletto, Brandon Jackson and a group from the Philly Improv Theater.
“All of them have graciously volunteered to perform for a very small fraction of their normal fee in order to help the MHA raise as much money as possible,” says organizer Lauren Golt of Wilmington. Golt got involved with the MHA in 2011, after her father committed suicide. Funny Bone was, she says, “a little outside the box,” a different way to raise money for mental health. “So many comedians are open about their struggles with depression and mental illness and how their comedy helps them,” she says. “That, along with the studies that show laughter helps mental health, made me think a comedy night would be a perfect fit.”
Mental health is no joke but, according to the MHA, laughter has been proven to help with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. The MHA promotes improved mental well-being for all individuals and families in Delaware through education, support and advocacy for mental health issues.
Mental illness is a major public health problem, with one in five Americans experiencing depression or anxiety disorders every year. This means more than 100,000 Delawareans, including children, are affected by these illnesses. Depression, if left untreated, is as costly to the American economy as heart disease or AIDS. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the annual cost of depression in the United States is estimated to be $43.7 billion dollars in lost productivity, absenteeism, treatment cost and mortality.