SJL Presents Frank King, The Mental Health Comedian

Comedy and depression may seem opposite, but Mental Health Comedian Frank King spoke with the Safety Justice League crew about how he has paired them. King first tasted comedy in fourth grade when he told a joke in class. In high school, he won the talent show with standup comedy. Later, King earned a degree, worked in insurance, married, divorced, remarried, and finally pursued a career in comedy. Throughout, he struggled with Major Depressive Disorder and suicidal ideation, almost taking his life multiple times.

After 25 years in comedy, King wanted to pursue an educational approach with his audiences. At first, he didn’t know what to teach, but his experiences led him to combine comedy with suicide prevention as a workplace health and safety issue. King targets occupations with high suicide risk such as doctors, construction, and safety management. “Narrowing my focus, going deeper rather than wide has made all the difference in my speaking career,” King stated. He has also produced five TEDx talks.

Mental health resources for men are sparse, which is why King helped write Volume 1 of Guts, Grit, and Grind: The Men’s Mental Mechanics Manual. This manual includes stories of men and how they have coped with setbacks; resources, exercises, and clinical suggestions are also included.

King’s advice to those who battle mental health issues? “Surround yourself with people who are aware of your issues, who when they ask how you’re doing you can actually tell them how you’re doing.” As for friends and family, he recommends actively listening and allowing them to have a voice. “Do your best to plant seeds of hope,” King said.

Visit thementalhealthcomedian.com or the TEDx website to learn more about King. He can also be reached at (858) 405-5653.

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