Week is a show which about the moment of realisation that something is wrong, in fact it hasn’t been right for sometime but you get used to it being like this. The filter through which you see the world - no matter how disturbing or upsetting - takes on the feeling of an old comfortable jumper. It’s about the journey of denial until it is impossible to deny any longer, when you reach that critical moment of realisation when you really cannot manage anymore. The realisation of no matter how much out of character it is, no matter how demeaning it may feel, it is time to ask for help.
The conceit of the title is a pun on weakness. We have it culturally instilled into us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. We have an emotionally crippling standard of
‘How are you?’
We aren’t really interested in the response. We never say ‘well actually I’m not having a good day’ or ‘Do you have five minutes?’
One in four people in the UK will experience an episode of poor mental health in any given year. This is more than just a few bad days or the kind of thing that people in a normative world struggle with. It is unsurprising people do not ask for help sooner or talk about mental health when a culture of stigma and negative stereotypes pervade society.
According to the British Medical Journal, in 2013 mental health accounted for 19% of the UK health burden as opposed to 16% for cancer, yet received only 5% of research funding as compared to 20% for Cancer. In 2015 MQ Landscape Analysis revealed that for every pound of government funding charities raise £2.75 for Cancer and less than 1/3 of a penny for Mental Health. There is clearly a disparity between physical and mental health, not just from government but in the general population.
Week sits in a firmly established genre now, straddling the edges of comedic confessional catharsis with some contextualising information adding a broader perspective. Perhaps laughter salves the bitterest of pains. Within this confessional space, perhaps we can briefly connect with our own imperfections, our own pain, as if laughing makes it suddenly, momentarily, acceptable to be not ok. (AM)
Andrea Hubert: Week is on at 15.45 at Gilded Balloon, Counting House until August 29th (not 15th) - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/andrea-hubert-week
Also in the mental health confessional comedy genre: Juliette Burton, Decision Time - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/juliette-burton-decision-time and Diagnosed here: http://thesickofthefringe.com/diagnoses/week1/decision-time
Mental Health UK: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/
Youth Mental Health: http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
Mental Health in Scotland: https://www.samh.org.uk/