Ruby Wax is a loud, funny woman who spent much of her comedy career battling depression in silence. Now her work blends mental health advocacy and laughs.
Winston Churchill called it "the Black Dog" -- a depression that settled over him and drained the flavor from life. Ruby Wax knows the Black Dog well; throughout the '80s and '90s, during a flourishing career as a brash comedian and interviewer in the UK, it trotted at her heels, even while she was interviewing the Duchess of York and sorting through Imelda Marcos' shoes.
After taking a timeout to learn how to manage the condition, Ruby produced a stand-up comedy show called "Losing It" that directly addresses her mental health experiences, hilariously but powerfully. And she's started up a new social network called the Black Dog Tribe, which offers a community and support to people with depression. As she says: "I've always said to myself, if you've got a disability, use it."
In 2013, Ruby obtained a Masters degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from the University of Oxford to increase her understanding of the brain and the science behind mental health issues. She has used this knowledge as the basis for her Sunday Times number 1 bestselling book and theatre show, Sane New World: Taming the Mind, an accessible, fascinating insight into human behaviour and a manual for understanding how the brain works.These days she promotes understanding of the brain and campaigns for greater mental health awareness and destigmatization.
Ruby became a patron for the British Neuroscience Association and brought mental health issues to the foreground in Parliament through work at the Home Office and speaking at Downing Street to raise money for neuroscience research. Amongst other charity work, Ruby became an ambassador for Mind and SANE, has held open sessions for sufferers and set up dedicated social networking communities for mental health. She performed her first show, ‘Losing It’, based on her experiences of clinical depression, in a number of institutions and charities, and has become a leading speaker on mental issues, including appearances at TEDGlobal 2012, various UK National Health Trusts, the Royal College of Nursing, British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Mindfulness in the Workplace, Women of the World Festival UK and Comic Relief.
In April 2015 it was announced that Ruby Wax will be awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to mental health.
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