The “Out of Our Minds” Mentell Health comedy show in Oak Lake brought focus to mental health as performers Big Daddy Tazz (Winnipeg), Tim Nutt (Calgary) and Ryan Pandolf (Brandon) took the stage. Home Counseling and Wellness, a counselling service with a location in Oak Lake, initiated the comedy performance in honor of two Oak Lake residents, Jamie Cairns and Andrew Plett, who passed away from mental health illness in the past couple years.
Therapist Catherine Arnold grew up in Oak Lake and went to school with Jamie and Andrew. “Jamie and I were in the same grade and Andrew was a grade younger but we were two days apart,” says Arnold. Plett was her close friend up until the day he passed.
She says that all three performing comedians are also connected in some way or other with the effects of mental health, either through relationships or personally.
“I wanted to honor my friends, as I am a therapist and social worker and thought mental health and comedy would be great,” adds Arnold. It was recommended that the comedy performance be focused on an age sixteen and older crowd based of the content of the presentation.
Arnold confirms that Big Daddy Tazz has had many life experiences with mental health and has a way of blending it in with his comedy and Ryan Pandolf has used comedy to show his own struggle with mental health and addiction issues that he faces. “Now that Ryan is on the other side of things, he is able to relate his own life experiences,” says Arnold.
“It was a fantastic evening,” adds Pandolf. “There was about 50 people in attendance.”
“The basic premise and values to get across is the importance of mental health and that everybody does struggle with some form of it,” says Arnold. “It is important that we don’t have to face it alone and we can come together as a community and society.”
Arnold assures that mental health has many supports and that individuals don’t have to suffer by themselves. “We have an office right here in Oak Lake for these counseling services.”
The Home Counseling and Wellness office first opened up in Brandon in January of 2021 and then in May of 2022 the Oak Lake office opened. Arnold says with everything going on after Covid, it is a different world right now and everyone is trying to cope and relate to figure out what is going on.
“With the stress of finances, daily life, anxiety and depression, everything has heightened.”
She says addiction has definitely increased and as she herself is also in recovery, she knows the struggles in dealing with mental health and addiction. “It is easier to relate to clients because I have been there.”
Home Counselling and Wellness has offices in Brandon, Oak Lake, and Minnedosa.