Phyllis Clark, founder and CEO of Healthy Heritage, addresses the crowd from last year's event.
Phyllis Clark, founder and CEO of Healthy Heritage, addresses the crowd from last year's event.

Breanna Reeves

In the U.S., Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed since 1949. As the month of May begins, mental health advocates are raising awareness throughout the month in an effort to continue to fight stigma surrounding mental health, educate people on how to seek services and advocate for policies that will support people affected by mental illnesses.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) reported that one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year and one in six youth, aged six to 17, experience a mental health disorder each year. NAMI announced this year’s theme, #MoreThanEnough, a campaign that seeks to empower

“NAMI’s #MoreThanEnough is a powerful message of hope and unity, emphasizing that people living with mental health conditions are deserving of the love, support and resources to help them lead fulfilling lives,” said NAMI CEO Daniel H. Gillison Jr. in a statement.

To highlight Mental Health Awareness Month, Healthy Heritage, Inc., an Inland Empire-based nonprofit organization that addresses health disparities within the African American community, is hosting their comedy show and resource fair called “Laughing for the Health of It.”

“We are thrilled to bring back ‘Laughing for the Health of It’ for a second year in a row, and we hope that this event will continue to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health in the Black community,” Phyllis Clark, founder and CEO of Healthy Heritage, said in a statement. “Laughter is truly the best medicine and we’re excited to provide a space for our community to come together, enjoy great comedy and access valuable mental health resources.”

A comedian tells jokes during Healthy Heritage’s first comedy show and health resource fair. (Image courtesy of Healthy Heritage, Inc.)

The event will feature four comedians at the Ontario Improv located in Ontario, CA as well as the opportunity for attendees to talk to mental health professionals and receive resources from 20 participating vendors who support Health Heritage’s mission to end the stigma around mental illness in the community.

According to a 2022 report published by the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF), 2019 data showed that the average percentage of California adults with serious mental illness is 3.9%, however, in the Inland Empire, 7.5% of adults had a serious mental illness.

The event will take place on ​​Sunday, May 21st, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. Tickets to attend the event are $25 and can be purchased online at or at the theater box office.

The comedy show and resource fair is sponsored by the California Department of Public Health, Marsell Wellness Center, Riverside University Health System of Behavioral Health, California Reducing Disparities Project, African American Family Wellness Advisory Group (AAFWAG), and the Broken Crayons Still Color Project.

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Breanna Reeves

Breanna Reeves is a reporter in Riverside, California, and uses data-driven reporting to cover issues that affect the lives of Black Californians. Breanna joins Black Voice News as a Report for America Corps member. Previously, Breanna reported on activism and social inequality in San Francisco and Los Angeles, her hometown. Breanna graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Print & Online Journalism. She received her master’s degree in Politics and Communication from the London School of Economics. Contact Breanna with tips, comments or concerns at or via twitter @_breereeves.