A group of military veterans - including several of our service users - delivered a successful public stand-up comedy showcase in east London to mark the end of Armed Forces Week.
The event was also the grand finale of the Veterans' Comedy Programme, and was given rapturous applause by the audience at the Backyard Comedy Club on Sunday 25 June. You can read more in the Sunday Mirror here.
The idea of trialling a comedy course aimed specifically at veterans who had experienced mental health problems was the brainchild of former service user, Trust governor and military veteran Neil Davies.
Neil found that learning comedy improv and stand-up at the Comedy School had helped consolidate his recovery after being treated for combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by Op COURAGE: NHS Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Services, which the Partnership provides for veterans across Greater London.
Inspired by the possibility of helping struggling veterans, Neil collaborated with Keith Palmer, Director of the Comedy School to devise a veteran-focused programme which has been evaluated as a social intervention lead by Dr Sue Ferrier, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Joint Head of Op COURAGE over the last six months.
Having completed a term of comedy improv which focused on spontaneity, outward focus, trust and non self-judgement, eleven veterans took on the considerable challenge of authoring and performing their own stand-up material from a standing start to public performance - in just eight weeks.
While formal evaluation of the intervention is ongoing, initial feedback from the group, has been very positive, and it is hoped that the course will be made available to more veterans next year.
Pictured: Assistant Psychologist and veteran George Tyldesley with James Hill, from Walking with the Wounded, at the stand in the St Pancras canteen.