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A comedy show is coming to East Central University to take a look at depression and suicide. The show will be presented by Brad Bonar Jr. and friends inside the Hallie Brown Ford Fine Arts Center 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 21. The show is free and open to the public.

The show, “1° of Separation,” is a “funny look at depression and suicide” aimed at ending the stigma of mental illness. Bonar and friends will show community members and students what it looks like to talk about depression in an honest, safe, and lighthearted format.

“The use of laughter as medicine allows participants to take a breath and enjoy a moment in a community of understanding and relatability,” Bonar said.

The show gets its name because “depression has one degree of separation: if you don’t suffer, then someone you know does,” according to their website at www.1DegreeOfSeparation.Life.

“We aim to bring dialogue, awareness, and acceptance for those suffering from depression through laughter and vulnerability,” the website continues. “We laugh at the dark stuff, because laughter releases the pain. We talk about depression, because no one should feel shame.”

“I realize it may sound odd to talk about comedy and suicide together, but this is a heartfelt discussion on suicide, depression and how to decrease the stigma around asking for help,” said Holli Witherington, executive director of the Brandon Whitten Institute. Witherington is also the director of Pontotoc County Drug Free Communities, Regional Mental Health Awareness Training Grant, & ECU Campus Suicide Prevention Grant.

“This performer will show you how to start conversations around anxiety and depression, while also sharing his story,” she said. “I encourage everyone to attend.”

The ECU Brandon Whitten Institute serves as the campus prevention center, and is also a training institute, and resource and referral center.

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