Wellbeing’s no joke! October 12, 2014 News Jamie Masada is a businessman – and founder of the US Laugh Factory chain of comedy clubs. And while he likes to laugh (and to balance his books,) he also likes looking after the mental well-being of his employees, the comedians on his books…for whom life isn’t always hilarious. ‘We are obliged to do something to help others in our work environment,’ he says. ‘This should be common practice in any place of work. Make sure there is someone your people can talk to if they need to.’ It was a spate of suicides among comics that prompted Jamie into action. But the therapist he employs, Ildiko Tabori, believes the opportunity to talk is important for everyone, wherever they work and whatever they do. Comedians may have specific issues, she says, triggered by the loneliness of their travelling life style and the pressures of live performance. But the underlying reasons for talk therapy are universal, making it a no-brainer for Jamie Masada, who calls this extra support for staff a rare, ‘win/win – wins for everyone.’ And here in the UK? There’s no question that attitudes towards mental health at work are changing; and that policies to promote wellbeing are perceived as good for staff and business. But in the real world, such change only happens if there’s a strong lead from the boss or manager…like Jamie. And not all are like him. As Mary O’Hara writes in the Guardian, ‘If recent moves in the UK to highlight the importance of ‘coming out’ at work as having mental health difficulties tell us anything, it is that while progress is being made, there’s a long way to go before it is normalised.’ But imagine if it was reckoned to be normal; and imagine such support being available in every company in the country. We at the Mind Clinic do. It would be the best punch line.