The old saying "laughter is the best medicine" has been around for quite some time, but we haven't always taken the phrase literally. That is, until now. The United Kingdom's National Health Service is set to start using comedy as a prescription for trauma patients. And no, we're not joking! Here's why experts think the new treatment could work wonders and how it'll all go down.
It's no secret the United Kingdom has brought some legendary comedic moments (hello, The Office). And now, they're taking things up a notch once more with a healthcare plan like no other: comedy as medicine. "Comedy is a force for good, and people do not realize how much it can change [their] lives," said comedian Angie Belcher, who collaborated with health advisors to create the program. She will also be running the workshop since her stand-up background and master's degree in psychology make her the ideal teacher combo.
Participants referred to the program will partake in a cost-free six-week course through the Bristol Wellspring Settlement Social Prescribing Team. Belcher explained that comedy stems from "trauma, not the happy bits," so the idea is that participants create stand-up sets based on their difficulties and traumatic experiences. And while some might think this is controversial, Angie assures they've already seen some positive results. "When I work with young people, there's a lot of people experiencing gender dysmorphia, people who have recently come out, issues with family, class, and race," she detailed.
"We explore those subjects," Belcher continued. "At the end, people seem six inches taller." One of the comedian's former students, who partook in a class unrelated to the new health initiative, said that comedy has helped her better navigate and understand her anxiety and depression. "It's that whole, 'If you don't laugh about it then you'll cry' sort of thing," the student, Kiah Bailey, shared. "Trauma plus time equals comedy, so I can use my experiences. Now I have found the funny side, it makes it easier to deal with."
Who knows - maybe we'll see healthcare systems around the world adopt this new method soon. You can learn more about the initiative by giving Angie Belcher a follow.