Ian Morison has been a comedian since he was 13. But for him, it’s about more than just making people laugh; it’s a way to heal.

“Humour saved my life. There’s no question about that,” said Ian Morison, Founder and Facilitator of Healing through Humour, a non-profit organization that teaches people living with mental illnesses the art of comedy writing and performance.

Morison was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) when he was eight years old. He also suffers from a learning disability.

Prior to the diagnosis, he was often a target for bullies. It was around that time when he realized comedy could save him.

“I was six years old and these guys were teasing me every day and I thought I thought and I realized if I made them laugh and made the joke about myself, it would disarm them,” said Morison.

His idea sparked Healing Through Humour. The group performs shows around the province and also records comedy music albums.

“We had one lady…she had never really left her house for a couple years…and then she joined our group and came every week for a year and a half,” he said.

It’s a well-known fact that humour is healing and mental issues affect all walks of life. Even the Late Robin Williams turned to comedy as a remedy while suffering through depression. Unfortunately, Williams did not survive his mental illness and died in 2014.

The Canadian Mental Health Association confirms comedy is a good tool to combat mental illness.

“It gets them out there socially, I mean, it’s always good medicine to laugh,” said Phyllis O’Connor, Executive Director of CMHA Saskatchewan.

As for Morison, he says he’s doing everything he can to end the stigma around mental health.

“You’ve got to try to fight to break down the [ignorance] and stereotypes of mental health…stigma is a huge word and it’s a huge thing and it’s what we fight with Healing Through Humour.”

One of Morison’s comedy albums will be released during Mental Health Week in May. The proceeds from all of his projects go towards Healing Through Humour.