Brixton-based comedian and mental health campaigner Dave Chawner made an appearance in Medway this Thursday for a night of comedy and open conversation about mental illnesses, particular eating disorders.
The comedy show and fundraiser took place at the University of Kent and was held in association with the Molly McLaren foundation.
Molly’s family and friends set up the Molly McLaren foundation in her name, which aims to raise money for supporting people with eating disorders. Molly, who was studying at University of Kent when she died, had battled with bulimia and subsequent anxiety.
The 28-year-old comedian himself suffered from anorexia since he was 17 and took to the Deep End stage to perform his stand-up comedy show ‘Mental’ in front of a crowd that included Molly’s family and friends.
Chawner took up comedy nine years ago while studying at Southampton University and used his experience to write his shows. He said: “Comedy has helped me cope with my mental illness loads. I just think there’s always a tone that goes along with anorexia. People always say ‘Oh, wow, that’s something serious’ and I didn’t want that. Things felt serious enough.”
The show ‘Mental’ takes a playful look at mental illness and eating disorders and hopes to raise awareness for the two and distinguish between mental health and mental illness.
Chawner explained: “I think using something that defined me, refined me and shaped me for so long takes the edge of. It feels incredible.
“I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t like to laugh. I think when you can laugh at something and release yourself from the serious sewage of life.”
With Eating Disorder Awareness Week taking place later this month, Mr Chawner has some words of advice to give:
To donate to the Molly McLaren foundation, visit: http://themollymclarenfoundation.co.uk/about/