It was a few years ago when I first experienced it, while on a tram on the way to work.

It was like a black mess of doubt and worry that overcame me. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t breathe. It took over so quickly that I found it impossible to function.

What I was found out was, like around one in ten Australians each year, I was experiencing anxiety. I was lucky to be able to get the assistance I needed to overcome it. And that’s why it means so much to me that Telstra supports a range of programs that help people who have experienced the agony of mental illness, such as Mental Health month (which is this October).

It took me a long time to get it under control and one of the things that got me through was laughter. WISE Stand Up for Mental Health (WSMH) is a unique stand-up comedy event featuring award-winning Canadian comedian David Granirer who brings comedy to the stage in the name of Mental Health.

He has partnered with not-for-profit organisation WISE Employment to debut a night of laughter, courage and candour. WISE Employment is one of Telstra’s Supported Workforce Program partners, which employs (via contract arrangements) people from not-for-profit organisations to carry out a variety of work at exchanges and Telstra Network Sites on a regular basis.

David, who himself has depression, has trained a group of people who have mental illness to develop their own comedy routine. They cover the highs and lows of living with everything from schizophrenia to depression, addiction, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

David and the comedians will perform at a grand public showcase on 25 October 2013 at Deakin Edge, Fed Square in Melbourne. Also performing will be Melbourne comedian Steve Bedwell who has joined WSMH as the official Ambassador.

It is a night packed with witty one-liners and inspiring stories. The event aims to break down the stigma associated with mental illness.

In short, it’s comedy for change.

Visit the Ticketmaster website for more details.