BOSTON, July 27, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Mental health issues have skyrocketed in the face of the pandemic and ongoing uncertainty.
Finding a therapist, or a reason to laugh, can feel impossible.
It feels like a time to cry, not laugh.
Dr. Kristen Lee, EdD, LICSW, an internationally recognized speaker and author, says laughter is important medicine during compromising times. She has translated her years as a psychotherapist, educator, and human resilience researcher into a new performing arts experience devoted to ending stigma, raising awareness, and building community through her comedy mental health show “Crackin’ Up with Dr. Kris: Where Comedy Meets Therapy”.
“It was time to flip my model”, says Dr. Lee, who, in addition to her teaching, consults regularly with companies on building positive mental health cultures, given the rise in burnout and stress in the workplace. “I’ve always infused humor with serious topics but wanted to create something fun and heartwarming with a strong underlying message of hope, healing, and solidarity”.
Lee, who leads the Behavioral Science program at Northeastern University, uses her public platform to share her own lived experience of mental health. “I’ve always used humor as a mechanism for coping, and to connect with my students, patients, and those I serve. Humor is identified as an essential protective factor for resilience, and even though there’s much to grieve and be serious about, it can help create space for joy, healing, and recovery.”
The average time for someone with a lived experience of mental health from onset of symptoms to treatment is 8-10 years. Lee emphasizes that “given the enormity of what we are grappling with, we must engage with ourselves and each other creatively and candidly to get to a place of healing and reduced stigma.”
Lee underscores the critical nature of policy makers to devote attention to the mental health crisis at hand, particularly for underserved populations. “Access is everything. Our service delivery systems are overstretched, people are suffering. They are afraid to ask for the help they need, and the reality is, access is extremely limited; especially for those who are marginalized due to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and place of origin.”
Lee also stresses that stigma is the number one reason people do not access support. “Now isn’t the time for hiding. We all are affected by mental health issues-whether ourselves or our loved ones. This is simple brain science, all of us responding to devastating circumstances, within broken and fraught systems, grieving the losses of critical aspects of our lives that are known to be protective towards our mental health. Gone are the days when this should be seen as a weakness or moral failing; we need to move from outdated framings of mental health condition to human condition.”
Lee is devoting a portion of the proceeds to benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nations’ largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, and to AAKOMA Project, focused on supporting youth of color and their families, raising consciousness, empowering people, and changing systems.
Crackin’ Up debuts at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston on Thursday August 12th. Lee will host the show, and feature Boston Based comedians Tooky Kavanagh and Emily Ruskowski.
Kavanagh was selected to perform on the Comedy Central UP NEXT audition showcase, and to audition for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs festival. She was selected to be a featured comedian in the 2020 Boston Calling festival, was the December 2018 Comic-In-Residence at The Comedy Studio; The 2017 Women In Comedy Festival; Thunderfest 2017; The 2017 Boston Comedy Festival; Boston Comedy Chicks; The 2017 Boston Comedy Arts Festival; headlining Laughing Liberally Boston; headlining It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Dover; headlining Stand-Up Thursdays at John Harvard’s; co-producing Token: Rethink What Comedy Can Be at Improv Boston; featuring at The Producer’s Club in Manhattan, NY; and Comic Sit-In at The Riot Theater.
Ruskowski is a staple on the Boston stand up scene. She has been featured in the Boston Globe and the Washington Post. She was a finalist in the 2018 Boston Comedy Festival and has been featured on Laughs TV. Ruskowski is also a clinical social worker.
Lee, known as “Dr. Kris”, is award-winning behavioral science professor, clinician, researcher, author, activist, and comedian. As the Lead Faculty for Behavioral Science and Faculty-in-Residence at Northeastern University, Dr. Kris’s research and teaching interests include individual and organizational well-being and resilience, particularly for marginalized and underserved populations. She operates a consulting practice devoted to preventing and treating burnout and is the author of RESET: Make the Most of Your Stress, Winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Motivational Book of 2015, and best-selling Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking: Learn What it Takes to Be More Agile, Mindful and Connected in Today’s World and the upcoming Worth the Risk: Learn How to Microdose Bravery to Grow Resilience, Connect More, and Offer Yourself to the World. She is a regular contributor for Thrive Global, and Rethink Your Way to the Good Life on Psychology Today. She is the host of Crackin’ Up: Where Therapy Meets Comedy, which began online featuring Drs. Kathleen Mackenzie and Ying Cao. Dr. Kris’s work has been featured on NPR, Ted and CBS radio. Her TedX talk, The Risk You Must Take has over 310,000 views and highlights her own battles with perfectionism, anxiety, and depression.
Doors open at 7:00 pm, the show starts at 7:30 pm. The first 150 guests will receive a free copy of Lee’s best-selling book, Mentalligence: A New Psychology of Thinking: Learn What it Takes to Be More Agile, Mindful, and Connected in Today’s World.
Current CDC guidelines will be followed. Guests will be advised to wear masks when entering and moving around the theatre and removed once seated for those who are fully vaccinated.
Lee says “If you can’t crack up, you’ll crack up. Healing takes place through solidarity, community, and using the critical thinking skills comedy offers us to look at things in a more playful, expansive and humane way…”
Thursday August 12, 2021
Doors open 7:00, show starts 7:30pm
Lyric Stage Company Boston
140 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116
Purchase tickets here at the Lyric Stage Company Boston website.
Dr. Kristen Lee, Boston, Massachusetts, +1 774-510-0688, [email protected]
Thor Alberto Blanco, Director of Communications, 7745100688, [email protected]
SOURCE Dr. Kristen Lee