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Interview with SMH Comic April Soon
Welcome to the second installment of our monthly blog post talking to comics who have been through the SMH program, and talking to them about mental health, why they love SMH, and how it impacted their lives.
Say hello to April Soon
This month, we spoke with April Soon, who is currently part of SMH’s Alumni program and also a longtime Toastmaster. “I heard about David and SMH back in 1999 at work. Somebody told me randomly about a cable show about David transforming people who had gone through bad breakups into stand-up comics. And so I watched the show, and people at the beginning were telling their horrific stories. And then it showed them on stage six weeks later and they were telling the same stories but they were hilarious.”
But like a lot of SMH participants, April didn’t join right away. It wasn’t until many years later in October 2018, when she was talking with one of her friends at Toastmasters that SMH came up again. Her friend asked April what she wanted to do with her Toastmasters work, and without thinking, she blurted out, “I want to do stand-up comedy.” They were both stunned by her answer, but shortly afterwards, they looked up SMH and both signed up for the next class.
SMH has been a safe haven during COVID-19
April has dealt with depression for most of her life, but before entering SMH had considered herself mostly recovered. She’d recently decided to take early retirement, and as a result had been able to slowly ease off of medications that she’d been on for years. But then came COVID. “Being a previous depressive, I love isolating. And for me, the first 10 months were heaven, because I didn’t have to go out. I actually enjoyed staying home with my kitchen pandemic projects. But part way through 2021, it started falling apart again.” Throughout the pandemic, SMH provided a reason to get out of bed. It gave her a supportive environment, with purpose, to share stories and make friends. For April, laughter has become the best medicine.
If you’re thinking of joining SMH, just do it
“With SMH, I felt like I’ve found a second family that understood.” April said that SMH was so helpful because it’s not a therapy group, but it is a place to talk about some dark issues and then turn them into something funny. “It helps with healing, connection, and understanding.” SMH has provided an important venue to explore dark topics in a safe place where no one is going to judge you or overreact. April talked about how many people with mental illness become good at masking in everyday life, and SMH provides an opportunity to take off that mask.
SMH brings healing
April never would have thought that getting up on stage at an open mic would be a part of helping her to recover from her depression. “I was a Toastmaster for over 20 years. I’ve done 50 speeches, and won contests, but stand-up was terrifying for me. And SMH made it so that I could do it.”
She’s now a strong advocate for SMH, and believes that David’s program can actually change lives. She’s seen it with her own eyes. “People who previously thought that they couldn’t do anything find that they can. And if they can do this—stand-up comedy—they can do anything.”
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