The number one bestselling author, comedian and leading mental health campaigner announces tie-up at London Book Fair
Marks & Spencer has joined forces with number one bestselling author, comedian and leading mental health awareness campaigner Ruby Wax to launch Frazzled Cafe in M&S stores.
Announced today at London Book Fair, M&S Cafés will host fortnightly ‘talk-in’ sessions where people who are feeling ‘frazzled’ can meet to talk and share their personal stories in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment.
11 M&S stores will be hosting Frazzled Cafe meetings over the next few months – with three in London alongside Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury and Norwich – and more locations are set to be added throughout the year.
Taking place in M&S Cafés after hours and led by trained volunteer facilitators, Frazzled Cafe meetings are designed not just for the one-in-four Britons who will suffer a mental illness at some point, but for the four-in-four who are feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life.
Frazzled Cafe was successfully trialled in M&S offices and stores last year with the support of M&S as part of its Plan A eco and ethical initiative. The meetings are not therapy, their purpose is to provide a space where people can talk openly with others who understand how they are feeling – ‘a place where it's ok, to not be ok’.
With the economic cost of mental health problems in the UK estimated at roughly £105 billion per year1 – equal to the entire National Health budget – and the UK rated the 7th highest nation in the Western world for prescribing antidepressants (four million annually)2 , there is a pressing need for both identifying ways to help people cope with overwhelming stress and reducing the stigma that is attached to discussing mental health. Studies3 have proven that one of the best ways to beat stress is to share your feelings and research4 has also shown that peer-support groups can yield significant improvement in psychiatric symptoms, resulting in decreased hospitalisation, larger social support networks and enhanced self-esteem. Ruby Wax herself has come across thousands of people who wanted to talk and feel connected during her sell-out book tours and theatre shows for A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled and Sane New World over the past five years. This is what inspired her to create Frazzled Cafe.
Ruby Wax, who announced the launch today at London Book Fair, said: “We live in a time where to have a life crammed to the hilt is considered a success story. But with all this pressure, so many of us have nowhere to go to meet and talk about it. Frazzled Cafe is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result. Feeling heard, to me, has always been half the cure.”
“It’s special to get a company like M&S on-board. I’m grateful for the set-up support they’ve given us and access to their café network is a huge boost.”
Sacha Berendji, Retail Director at Marks & Spencer, said: “Ruby’s Frazzled Cafe is a simple, pressure-free way of tackling what can be a taboo subject – feeling stressed. We hope that by providing free and calm venues after the café has closed, we can help any members of the community who simply need to talk about things and what’s happening in their lives.”
Frazzled Cafe is a not for profit and soon to be registered charity created by Ruby Wax and run by Elizabeth Morrison and Anna D’Onofrio. Its name is inspired by Ruby’s number one bestselling book A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled
which is now available in paperback.
To sign-up to the Frazzled Cafe mailing list and find out more about the roll-out schedule or to register to attend a Frazzled Cafe please visit www.frazzledcafe.org.
1As reported by the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England, 2016
2The Health and Social Care Information Centre
3“Are You Feeling What I’m Feeling? Emotional Similarity Buffers Stress”: Social Psychological and Personality Science, vol. 5, 5: pp. 526-533, First Published December 17, 2013.
4Mental Health Foundation
For further information, please contact:
Fiona McMorrough and Annabel Robinson, Frazzled Cafe press office,
020 7405 7422
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Daniel Himsworth, Marks & Spencer press office, 0208 718 1618
About Ruby Wax
Ruby has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness about mental health issues, including speaking at Downing Street to raise money for neuroscience research. In 2013, she obtained a Master’s Degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from Oxford University to increase her understanding of the brain and used this knowledge as the basis for her books Sane New World: Taming the Mind and A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled both of which became Sunday Times number one bestsellers on publication. She was awarded an OBE for her services to mental health in the Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals in 2015.
She has become a leading speaker on mental issues including appearances at The Home Office, MI5, Apple, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Merril Lynch, Bank of America, Downing Street, the House of Lords, Google, The Cabinet-Director Generals and TEDGlobal 2012, plus various UK National Health Trusts and charities.
The paperback edition of Ruby’s Sunday Times bestselling book, A Mindfulness Guide for the FRAZZLED, also a number one bestseller is out now priced at £8.99
Ruby Wax: Frazzled, her sell-out one-woman show, will be at Leicester Square Theatre in London for a month from 30th May-24th June 2017. For further details visit www.rubywax.net/tour
Follow Ruby on twitter @RubyWax #Frazzled
About Plan A
Plan A is Marks & Spencer’s eco and ethical programme that tackles both today’s and tomorrow’s sustainable retail challenges. Launched in 2007, the plan has helped M&S send no waste to landfill, become carbon neutral and win over 200 industry awards. To find out more please visit the Plan A website – www.marksandspencer.com/plana.