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They say laughter is the best medicine and audiences at the upcoming Aberdeen International Festival can have a good laugh and support a local charity at the same time.

This year the festival has partnered with local charity Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA) and organisers Aberdeen Inspired will be encouraging audiences to dig deep throughout the eleven day event.

Laughter has a multitude of benefits when it comes to mental health, including making people happier and more optimistic, improving self-esteem, bringing people together and sharing positive experiences.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “We are delighted to have Mental Health Aberdeen as the official charity of the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival.

“MHA carries out incredible work across Aberdeen and the wider north-east and we know it will be a cause close to many people’s hearts. The charity will have a presence across all of the shows during the festival and we’re sure we can count on the generosity of the public to help make a difference to such a worthy cause.

“The therapeutic benefits of laughter to mental health are well known and alongside the fundraising element to this partnership, we hope it can also help reach out to an audience of people who may find it difficult to talk about their mental health.”

Comedy is increasingly being used to help combat mental illness and science has proven that laughter can boost your mood by releasing endorphins and reducing the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

Mental health is also a topic on the agenda for a number of comedians at the festival, including Ashley Storrie, who focusses on mental health and the ways she uses humour to overcome her pain.

Astrid Whyte, Chief Executive Officer of Mental Health Aberdeen said: “We are absolutely delighted and incredibly grateful to have been chosen as the first official charity partner of the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival. We have watched this wonderful event grow across the past few years, and now cannot believe that we have been given this incredible platform to share our message, and potentially help more people across the north-east as a result.

“The benefits of laughter on mental health are well documented. When we laugh, our bodies release endorphins that help to balance our mood and encourage positive thinking. Laughter in groups helps people to bond, creating and sharing positive social experiences, which in turn is important for mental health. With such a wide range of comedians, covering a huge range of topics, to suit all budgets, we would urge as many people as possible to support the festival this year, enjoy a little laughter, and take the chance to meet some of our team at each of the shows across the eleven days.”

The Aberdeen International Comedy Festival will run at a multitude of city venues, bars and clubs from Thursday 3 October until Sunday 13 October 2019. The festival has been organised and promoted in its entirety by Aberdeen Inspired since 2016 with generous support from The McGinty’s Group Scotland and Balmoral Group.