Finding Hope


Group uses comedy to open the conversation on mental health

Posted at 4:55 PM, Oct 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-10 18:55:50-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Mental illness has become and increasingly popular topic in recent years. Conversations about suicide, anxiety, and depression are good to address but still hard to talk about.

Brad Bonar Jr. is the founder of 1DegreeOfSeperation, a traveling comedy group aimed at ending the stigma of mental illness. Bonar Jr. is a comedian who struggles with mental illness and knows the importance of talking about his life struggle. He realized the need for this show after being placed in a mental hospital for three days because of suicidal thoughts.

“A few months after that I found a suicide note I found in the sixth grade, and I thought wow since at least the sixth grade maybe even before that,” he said.

Combing the worlds of comedy and mental health can be challenging but Bonar Jr. felt there was no better was of bringing up the topic. 80-percent of comedians struggle with depression and anxiety and know having a space for them to talk about it could be powerful in the lives of others.

“Comics will talk about anything. There’s not a topic you can think of that some comic doesn’t have a routine and a bit about, so let's make this our thing that we talk about as well,” Bonar Jr. said.

The show presents three comedians that do five minute comedy segments. After the show, the comedians all come together and talk about their struggles with mental illness. The conversation is run through five questions that get the conversation going on mental health.

“We answer five questions, and those questions came from interviewing doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists' friends. I go, what would you want see talked about, if you went to a mental health event where you have four people that will talk about anything," Bonar Jr. said.

The group has done conferences and workshops but has a focus on high schools. Last week they visited Twin Falls High School, where getting students involved with talking about mental health is high priority for the Twin Falls School District.

“They’re struggling with stress and anxiety just like adults are and I think that’s always been the case but we’re at a point where we can have these discussions now as a society and our kids are asking for these things. They’re saying I'm having a hard time; how can I get better?," said Eva Craner, director of public relations for the Twin Falls School District.

For more information on 1DegreeOfSeparation, click here.