Mental Illness and Friends, created and hosted by Deena Nyer Mendlowitz, is a live comedy talk-show combining stand-up, improv, and open, honest dialogue with other artists dealing with mental health issues. Nyer Mendlowitz, who lives with anxiety and suicidal ideation, begins each performance with a new opening monologue, seamlessly weaving mental illness, real life, and laughter together. Each month she invites other comedians, improv artists, actors, and often a musical guest to perform and share a bit of their own mental health history. The hour-long show closes with an improv set based on topics discussed that evening. The results are hilarious, honest, enlightening, empowering, inspiring and leave both the performers and audience feeling a little more connected and understood. The show has played all around Cleveland and has been featured in USA Today and on NPR.