DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — November is Men’s Health Awareness Month, which spotlights a range of men’s health issues, including one that is most likely to be neglected: mental health.
Comedian Daniel Howell, known for his YouTube channel that has amassed more than six million subscribers, has become a powerhouse for mental health advocacy.
In 2021, Howell showcased this by penning “You Will Get Through This Night”, a nonfiction bestseller written in collaboration with clinical psychologist Dr. Heather Bolton. The book serves as a practical guide, keying in on ways that readers can take control of their mental health, even on days when all hope seems lost.
Now, Howell is taking to stages across the globe for his solo comedy tour, “We’re All Doomed!”, using humor to cope with the worldly issues that humanity faces — and soul-searching to find the courage to persevere in spite of them.
“When I first started doing comedy, it was relatable, observational stuff, and then one day, I started to really struggle to even write and perform because I was dealing with some quite severe depression at the time,” Howell reflected.
“I figured I just needed to open up about it, and so I, for the first time, spoke about my struggles with mental health — and what people told me was, not only was it so refreshing and important for people to hear themselves represented in someone else’s story…What I was saying was coming from a realer and a rawer place.”
Howell said seeing people resonate with his struggles inspired him to continue advocating for those who may be suffering in silence. This led him to craft his comedy stage show in a way that also incorporated serious elements.
“To me, that was this green light. People talk about the relationship between comedy and tragedy. Sometimes you cry so hard you laugh, sometimes you laugh so hard you cry. I feel like these things are quite related, and I think the more vulnerable you’re being on stage, the funnier what you’re talking about is.”
Howell finds strength in sharing his mental health struggles with others, and he encourages people to open up about the adversities they face.
“When you keep things inside, they bubble up. You like to think that you can sit on all your problems…But these things, they just rise under the surface until one day it pops, and that is not healthy. The more that you are open and honest about it, it just feels immediately so freeing, and you can just get on with your life.”
As for those who are struggling, Howell offers the resounding message of hope.
“You can’t give up, no matter how hard it gets — and it seems like it can be very hard…I think we have no choice but to somehow be hopeful.”
He said that if he could share one message, it would be that people are not alone in what they are struggling with.
“A lot of people feel like it’s a bad kind of vulnerability to tell people how you’re feeling when you’re feeling bad, but I think it’s the complete opposite. I think that it actually shows an incredible amount of courage and bravery,” he said.
“It shows a lot of strength to be able to open up and admit that you feel bad and that you might need help, and that is just the first step toward your life being better, so everyone should go for it — even if it’s cracking some inappropriate jokes.”
More information, including ticket availability, for the “We’re All Doomed!” comedy tour can be found here.