Laughing Matters Brings Joy to Oceana County

Amy Van Gunst

Laughing Matters is an annual fundraiser that supports our work at the Lakeshore Counseling Office in Oceana County. With one of Michigan’s highest rates of poverty and lowest rates of counseling access – the need for our work there is great. And the benefits of our services are greater still.

What We Do

At the Lakeshore Counseling Office, we provide counseling to kids in schools and individuals in the community regardless of someone’s ability to pay. In 2017, this fundraiser gave more than 200 people in the county the opportunity to seek out counseling services. These services helped kids succeed in school, helped parents get support, and helped folks heal from abuse, grief, and trauma.

How Laughing Matters Works

Every dollar spent purchasing a Laughing Matters ticket is used to put someone who needs counseling in session with a therapist. These dollars really do save lives and change outcomes in Oceana County.

This event brings a lot of joy. Counseling support changes lives forever and helps communities in Oceana County grow stronger and more resilient. When we help someone overcome a mental illness, when we help a child concentrate in school, when we help a family nourish parenting skills, then we help build a more whole and vibrant community.

Ending Stigma by Celebrating the Joy that Comes with Wholeness

We’re so proud of this event for that. We’re also very grateful to have the opportunity to gather folks together to celebrate wholeness and mental health. Too often we bring along really negative images when we think of mental and behavioral health, and this kind of stigma can have a pretty significant impact on low income, rural communities. It keeps people from reaching out for help when they need it, and it holds families back.

That’s why this event – through and through – is really is about joy. The joy of being mentally whole. The joy of not being ashamed. The joy of building community. The joy of laughter in the middle of winter in Oceana County!

We look forward each year to this event and the possibilities it brings to our community. Our goal is for you to look forward, as well. If you have any questions about Laughing Matters, or an idea you would like to share with us about how to make sure mental health and wellness needs are met in Oceana County, please give us a call at (616) 456-1178 or send us an email at