Healthy Humour

Rooted in the fields of Positive Psychology and Positive Education, we support the 24 character strengths model, especially the character strengths of humour, bravery & confidence, and creativity. Healthy humour is our goal rather than hurtful humour such as sarcasm and the mean humour of bullying. Our research base is well-cited and respected.
Photo collage from North Kipling school

Our Vision of Success

A greater community of youth who are empowered to be confident, kind, inclusive, resilient and healthy.

Our Mission

Trained comedian coaches introduce comedy and healthy humour to young people in grades four to twelve.

Our Beliefs

  • We need to pay attention to all four parts of our well-being—our body, our mind, our spirit/social life, and our emotions.
  • We need to be comfortable talking about how we feel. It’s normal to respond to life with a variety of emotions. There are no good or bad feelings.
  • There is a close relationship between comedy and well-being. Using healthy humour is an effective way to deal with life’s challenges. When we are laughing, it’s hard to be angry or stressed.
Canadaian elementary school student, aged 12, performing stand up comedy in front of their classmates

Stand Up for Student Well-Being has been delivering effective and fun programs for five years in Ontario. More than 4,000 youth have benefitted from our programs. Our program delivery model is unique and our Student “Playbooks” have been developed by educators to maximize the impact on learning. Due to the critical and extensive need for this kind of programming, we are proud to be a registered charitable organization in Ontario, Canada to expand our work.

The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people … argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school. There is substantial evidence that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement, and meaning can be taught to children.

–Martin Seligman

The ability to recognize and produce humour are skills that are increasingly more important in our society as they require intelligence, social awareness, and communication. Programs such as [this] that foster these skills directly, can have profound benefits for the students involved. These include increased learning, self-esteem, problem-solving, interpersonal relationships, resilience, and an overall improved quality of life. [This] project is especially innovative and has the potential to be a life changing experience.

–Dr. Brian King, author of The Laughing Cure

Our focus is always on healthy humour which involves laughing WITH people and genuinely enjoying their company. It also lets us have a good healthy laugh at ourselves from time to time. Unfortunately, what we too often experience is hurtful, unhealthy humour such as bullies use as put-downs, or sarcastic humour where the laughter is directed AT people instead of WITH them.

elementary student performing stand up comedy

Our Four Key Objectives

Our programming engages participants in conversations about well-being through a performing-arts forum

Well-being is a combination of four aspects of health: social, emotional, mental and physical.

Our programming develops healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety while promoting kindness and inclusion

Reinforcing and developing skills around kindness, inclusion, and respect has never been more important in this challenging global world. Social media enables connectivity around the globe where we are exposed, more than ever, to different ways of living and thinking. “Respect for self and others” is an attitude that needs to be developed and practiced. Teachers confirm that young people often find life stressful. Bullying and cyber bullying, peer pressure, uncertain job markets, access to more information than ever before in history, confusion around paths to success, and many other issues result in student anxiety and an increased need for effective stress management. Keeping issues in perspective and being able to laugh at oneself and situations are important life skills.

Our programming builds the specific character strengths of humour, bravery and confidence, gratitude, forgiveness and creativity through personal storytelling and healthy humour

(Visit www.viacharacter.org for an explanation of all 24 character strengths)

A parent of a girl in our 2019 summer FunCamp program put it this way, “The open communication strengthened my daughter’s confidence and being able to express herself and how she feels about herself. Having others laugh with her brought joy to her natural self.” (Bethany Nurse)

Rooted in the fields of Positive Psychology and Positive Education, we support the 24 character strengths model, especially the character strengths of humour, bravery & confidence, and creativity. Healthy humour is our goal rather than hurtful humour such as sarcasm and the mean humour of bullying. Our research base is well-cited and respected.

Our programming develops written and oral literacy skills in a fun environment

Let’s have FUN – and learn at the same time! This programming aligns with the curriculum and enables the development of language and communications skills in an engaging format that students and teachers love! They write about and perform their own life experiences.

a female teacher working with her Grade 6 students in their Canadian classroom in cartoon style
Teachers appreciate the opportunity to inject fun into learning and confirm that the development of transferrable life skills such as problem solving, collaboration and public speaking is highly valuable and that our program enhances social skills which reduces conflicts among students.

In our 21st century world, media, particularly social media, guarantee that today’s children are bombarded with serious and even frightening issues they need help navigating. Bullying, gangs and even terrorism were unimaginable for most of today’s adults when they were young. Yet, most of us who deal with kids on a regular basis tend to focus on these matters to the exclusion of things that make life lighter and provide balance.”

–Sue Stephenson, author, Kidding Around: connecting kids to happiness, laughter and humour

Up to 70 percent of mental health problems begin in childhood or adolescence. As many as one in five people in Ontario between the ages of four and 16 experience some form of mental health problem at any given time, yet fewer than one in six children and youth receive the specialized treatment services they require.

–Child and Mental Health and Addictions in Ontario, MHASEF – ICES 2015