• 09.18.12

“Stand-Up Kid” Issues Reminder: Mental Illness Is No Laughing Matter

In a new ad against mental health discrimination, a clinically depressed boy literally takes a stand in class and delivers a powerful message.

Usually, the tried-and-true setup, “How many ____ does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” means that a joke is about to happen. In a new video for the organization Time to Change, though, those words are used at the beginning of a speech about why some jokes need to stop being told.


Time to Change is an organization that campaigns against mental health discrimination. Its latest video, created by agency Dare London, addresses the stigma of mental health issues as it appears in the classroom. In it, a young man who has just missed a few weeks’ worth of classes is taunted upon his return. The speech the boy counters with, delivered while standing on his chair, is eloquent in its visceral description of what it feels like to suffer through clinical depression, and effective in evoking the inhumanity of laughing at someone who’s going through that experience.

Watch a previous ad from Time to Change below.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.