PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The National Alliance on Mental Illness Clackamas is standing up against mental health stigma with a comedy night in Lake Oswego.

Comedian Carl Wolfson will headline the Stand-up(s) Against Stigma event, along with three local aspiring comedians to discuss their mental health through comedy.

“The fact that Carl and these three comedians are going to be using comedy to talk about and explore their struggles and their successes with mental health, we think, is a really healthy way to help end the stigma and to talk about mental health,” said Dave Hunt, Executive Director of NAMI Clackamas — a non-profit that holds classes and support groups for those facing mental health issues.

Hunt added, “the numbers are just really clear that a huge percentage of the population either is personally experiencing a mental health challenge or has a family member that’s experiencing a mental health challenge. The only way to deal with that is to openly talk about it,” Hunt said.

Wolfson pointed to the endorphins and connection that laughter can bring.

“I don’t think you have to be a stand-up comedian to know that laughter has medical benefits for everyone,” Wolfson said.

“I think that’s what comedians do is talk about things that a lot of people think but not say,” he added. “It’s often said that humor is the shortest distance between two people, and I find it’s the shortest distance between a performer and an audience as well,”

The Stand-up(s) Against Stigma event will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego.