NHS Expo 2016, Mental Health and Mindfulness with Ruby Wax


>>CHAIR: OK. Mental health, has not always
been seen in a good light, a poor and rather dirty relative you didn’t really invite to
your parties, nor indeed to an event like this but things have obviously changed and
if you were here for the last, last bit, it wasn’t parity we got, we got primacy. So a
lot’s changed during my career, about mental health, we’ve got tonnes of evidence about
things being effective, we’ve closed the asylums, we’ve opened up community treatment, but
two really important things which I think are important for today I want to draw attention
to. First is our understanding of mental health and the stigma that goes with it and secondly
the amount of psychological therapies that we now have good evidence are effective. So for the next hour we have a very special
event for us here at Expo, we’re going to do this in the form of an interview, in which
all of you are invited to be voyeurs, there is a chance for questions later. The first
interviewer, the interviewer for this is, he is the Freud memorial professor of psychoanalysis
and clinical psychology at University College London, he’s national clinical advisor for
mental health in NHS England, for children and he’s chaired numerous guidelines, national
guidelines, committees, groups or whatever and he is also a psychological therapist,
and that’s Professor Peter Fonagy. [Applause]. The interviewee, almost doesn’t need any introduction,
she is a fantastic entertainer, an amazing comic, a superb ambassador of mental health,
a great writer and she is also a psychological therapist, can I introduce to you Ruby Wax.
[Applause].>>Peter Fonagy (PF): Ruby, you started this
interview saying that you weren’t going to start the way that you said you were going to start.>>RW: Yeah>>PF: How do you want to start?>RW: Well OK, I, it’s ridiculous that he’s
the interviewer, because he’s far more well it doesn’t matter, he has issues! [Laughter]
So, insecurities, yeah it hasn’t worked for you. Well, people say how did I get into mental
health, you’re probably wondering, maybe you’re not….er….I’ll explain to you;
I would never tell anybody that I had a mental problem. I hid that really well and then I
was outed by Comic Relief, because they put a poster without asking me in the tube stations
that said “1 in 4 people have mental illness, 1 in 5 people have dandruff, I have both”,
so I was mortified and I hurled myself in front of the posters, all the way down the
escalator and so I had to admit that something was wrong, so what I did is I wrote a show
and I pretended that was my publicity poster see smarter than you! [Laughter] And what
I did was I performed it, I had, you know, somebody called my bluff, so I performed it
for the next two years in NHS hospitals and I think they liked it. They weren’t always
facing me, and they asked questions in the second half and so you could see them kind
of defrost because I wasn’t talking down to them, I was their people. One woman asked
me, I’m not making this up, “How do you get a poltergeist out of a Hoover?!” [Laughter]
So wonderful, well people that you probably have an answer for!>>PF: Not the poltergeist, you what did you
say to the poltergeist in the Hoover?>>RW: I said get back to me, I didn’t know,
but she did say that.>>PF: Yeah, OK, I mean you’ve changed careers,
in effect.>>RW: Yeah.>>PF: What made you change careers? I mean
what actually motivated you rather, you know?>>RW: Yeah, well I loved my career, at the
time and it was appropriate because I was a born narcissist and so it fit me like a
glove and I loved, well I interviewed, I don’t know, you can Google it, I interviewed Donald
Trump did anybody see it? Yeah! I should have taken him out then!! [Laughter] And he interviewed
me, he put me in his plane, which was, and then we were 33,000 feet and he said, he told
me he wanted to run for President of the United States and I laughed and so he landed the
plane and made me get out in Arkansaw, [Laughter] with a camera crew.>>PF: In Arkansaw?>>RW: Yeah, that’s where we went up and
then we did a really good film….without him [Laughter] and then at the end I returned
his pen that he left with me and he said if he ever saw me again he’d kill me! So that’s
what kind of, I always said those were in the days before he had a dead rodent on his
head, [Laughter] he just had one nose hair and then he’d wind it around his head, but
now of course he’s become more sophisticated.>>PF: Yeah, I’ve noticed that? OK….>>RW: Oh, so you asked me why I changed?>>PF: Yeah I did, I was going to repeat the
question, just in case you didn’t hear.>>RW: No, I remember. So anyway, eventually
you lose your mojo, I don’t know if you do? But you know we’re supposed to be dead
by 30, but we just go on and on and on, so I had to reinvent quickly and I went to Berkeley
University to study psychology, but I didn’t finish, I ended up in England and to my surprise
ended up in the Royal Shakespeare Company, go figure, cos I have the drive of a Rottweiler,
and I did, well to learn an English accent you have to do, I don’t know if this is relevant,
tongue exercises, so I spent my time at drama school, dadada-da da-da-da-da, to get the
English accent I have today [Laughter]. So erm….so that’s what happened.>>PF: Obviously RADA, if this is an outcome
study of RADA’s educational programme, it’s not perfect yet, some way to go.>>RW: So anyway.>>PF: You studied at Berkeley, studying psychology,
you could have become a psycho therapist then?>>RW: I’m not a psychotherapist professional
now, because I went to, anybody? Regent’s college to get my psychotherapy degree and
you have to do 400 hours and I did….a few and I was a terrible therapist, I used to,
I used to sit them with them and go, come on, just cut to the punchline [Laughter] it
wasn’t good and I think that when women have menopause they get really interested in helping
other people….nobody’s laughing! [Laughter] Either that or they create, you know, they
start saving homeless cats, one or the other so I decided psychotherapy but, you know,
I thought all the therapists had a point, you know, the good enough mother, thank God,
because I used to put a little milk in the corner and say get it yourself so Winnicott
made me feel better but I always wanted to study the real brain but you couldn’t when
I was at Berkeley, you could only study a corpse, and it wasn’t my area, so when they
could see somebody, the mind at work I thought I’m going to go now and study that, kind of
at a late age so I crash coursed at UCL to study neuroscience and I told everybody in
my class that I had that disease where you age really fast, and….and eventually they
found out I really was old, but it didn’t matter, because they, you know, I started
dating, anyway they invited me to parties so it was fine. So that’s what happened, but
later on I did go on to study it.>>PF: Did you have any therapy yourself?>>RW: Did you?>>PF: I did! It’s part of my training.>>RW: What kind of therapy did you have?>>PF: I had the one, I had several but I had
the one where you have to lie on the couch and there is somebody behind you, you can’t
see and talks to you and you have to imagine them making funny faces in order to carry
on.>>RW: Did it, did it make, did it work for
you? No?>>PF: What do you think?!” [Laughter]>>RW: No!! How much more, how much more therapy
Peter?>>PF: Well I don’t know, but when I was adolescent,
I had quite a severe depression and I was suicidal and suicidal thoughts certainly,
very desperate, I had therapy and it actually helped me a great deal.>>RW: Have you had depression since or do
you still have episodes?>>PF: Well I wouldn’t call them full, I
don’t meet criteria, no.>>RW: Are you on medication?>>PF: No I’m not.?>>RW: OK well there, it must work, for you.>>PF: Yeah, exactly but I was asking about
your therapeutic experience and….>>RW: See he throws it back, shall I lie on
the couch?>>PF: No, I don’t think you need to?>>RW: Do you want me to tell you the funny
thing or you want me to tell you the real reason, I could either way, but they didn’t
pay so I might as well go the real way, what do you think?>>PF: Yes go the real way.>>RW: Honestly if they bought a ticket, I
could just, give them the show.>>PF: But they didn’t buy a ticket, they’re
all on freebies.>>RW: Oh well then screw them! OK, do you
want to know about?>>PF: Yes, I want to know.?>>RW: So I, I wanted to find out why I had
depression, same thing as you, though I did do [Laughs] some alternative therapies.>>PF: Tell us the alternative therapies.>>RW: Would you like to know? This is what
your competition is, I had to marry myself, Dr Barbara, I don’t know, you’ve heard
of her? Dr Barbara, we were on a beach wearing wedding dresses and there were a few Puerto
Ricans with me, all in wedding dresses, and Dr Barbara said “Do you Ruby, take you ruby?”
and I got really, I said “Me Ruby or you Ruby?” So they played the wedding March
on a tape recorder “ta da da-da” and then I eventually had to do my vows. This was for
a TV show.>>PF: Alright.>>RW: And then I carried myself over the threshold,
that was Dr Barbara, and I did rebirthing, as you know.>>PF: Aha.>>RW: Where you shout at all the organs that
got in your way, it’s supposed to be better the second time round but it isn’t.>>PF: So, why did you, why did you start taking
it seriously, I mean all that sounds a little bit flaky?>>RW: It’s true though.>>PF: It may well be and incredibly funny.>>RW: And I used a lot of it when I did Ab
Fab so it was perfect. Always if you can use it as material, it wasn’t a waste of time.
So the reason I guess I went into psychotherapy, same reason you, well psychoanalysis, is because
I had depression and course you want to know can I find a cure without having to spend
a fortune on people like you. Sorry I went to psychotherapy school to see what exactly
people were charging for.>>PF: Ruby I’m really cheap, let me just
say I’m really cheap.>>RW: Do you get like 10 for the price of
10?>>PF: Exactly.>>RW: So no, I did want to figure it out myself
and I knew there must be a way, and I’m not knocking medication, because I have been
on it for 20 years and I think it’s a combination of the meditation, and the medication which
worked for me, but I did have depression since I was a kid but nobody knew what it was called
because my mother had it but, you know, in those days, what was it? She ended up, you
know, cleaning a floor and chasing dust balls for 30 years and then, you know was howling
and the police would come sometimes and they’d say “Your mother’s going through a change
of life” and I said “or 87 years?!” [Laughter] So I also had it but they didn’t
know the name so it felt like hibernation but, you know that feeling? You can taste
it but I couldn’t get up, and, and of course there was no name for it and eventually, I
was institutionalised, and I got, as you know, very few cards or letters from anyone, if
I had a broken leg or I was with child I would have been inundated, all I got was a few phone
calls telling me to perk up, perk up because like I didn’t think of that? [Laughter] And
I found that with depression, it isn’t just the depression it’s the shame that we label
on it, because you think well your friends say “Show me your Xray” and you can’t
so you get even more critical thoughts and I always say it’s not like one critical voice
it’s like a hundred thousand critical voices, and I was like if the devil had Tourette’s
that’s what it would sound like. But you are out of commission and I always get angry
that people think this is an act of imagination, you know every other organ in your body can
get ill, and you get sympathy cards except your brain and, you know everything, almost
everything, emanates. If you’re hit by a meteorite that’s your fault but every illness emanates
from your brain, you know, if you want to break down your immune system which comes
from thought, not saying but it’s the way you think, everybody has stress but it’s thinking
and ruminating and daisychaining and that’s what keeps the cortisol flowing, I know I’m
making it easier and that’s what breaks down the immune system and then we get obesity,
we get infertility, we get heart disease, we get premature ageing so I don’t know why
so much money is thrown at those things, whereas if they studied the brain, the mothership,
we could deal with a lot of this. But you know it’s not a sexy thing to study.>>PF: But one of the important things that
you said there, and I think that’s really important for everyone to hear, is that part
of the problem is that when you feel depressed, you feel hopeless and you feel that you are
abandoned in the world and you feel helpless in relationships, but you are so alone and
nobody actually really understands what it is that you are feeling. How did you, how
did you get on top of that? How did you come through that?>>RW: Well there’s you know everybody’s
a different fingerprint and as I say I really researched this, I really went to, you know,
because I don’t do the flaky stuff, you know, unless I can smell it and taste it I don’t
believe it, so I went to research books and the thing that had the best results, and I
say again, not all sizes, you know, fit all, Mindfulness and cognitive which I didn’t have
the best results as far as depression and then anxiety and panic attacks and just general
wellbeing so I thought I’m going to study that and you don’t need a therapist, because
you selfregulate, and that is the next Zeitgeist because we, none of us can afford shrinks,
and there’s very few beds so we have to do it on our own. As I say figure it out. So
I hunted down the founder who was Mark Williams and he was, I told this before, he was a Professor
at Oxford so I said just give me what happens in the brain, just in two minutes because
I haven’t got time. So he said you have to get into Oxford, from your masters, and
again drive of a Rottweiler I did, and I have to say, it does deliver what it says on the
package, it doesn’t cure depression. I mean there’s good statistics for people that do,
but you do hear an early warning. You get that idea that you’re not at the mercy, you’re
not depressed but there is depression, so you know like an animal would hear before
an earthquake or tsunami, it hears a warning I can feel it coming now then I can make,
I can make precautions.>>PF: That you construct your depression to
a certain extent and therefore you can deconstruct it, is that what you mean?>>RW: I can have distance from it and that’s
everything, you know then rather than getting more busy because there’s so much shame, I
started to cancel things. You know you know maybe get the medication up, you don’t return,
you don’t have a thousand dinner parties because as I said when you have depression you want
to show the world you are perfectly fine. I mean if you had any other disease you’d
take to your bed. So I do feel it coming, and it does sharpen other things that are
really important, in your life. For me and it does work with that rumination but the
very thing that keeps you up all night at and the cortisol flows, again it’s the thinking
about stress that really makes you ill, it does at least you just have the experience
of stress or anxiety, you don’t get anxious about anxiety or stressed about stress and
that’s where the damage happens.>>PF: I mean, it’s, let’s kind of broaden
the conversation a little bit. You talked about your own very honestly and very bravely
about your own mental health problems, but what do you think of mental health in general?
I mean how could you persuade all the people here that mental health is an important issue?>>RW: How would you do it? Because, you know,
you’re the.>>PF: How would I do it?>>RW: Yes.>>PF: I can say the statistics I can say 30%
of people have mental health problems I can say this is the most burdensome disease that
there is, particularly for children, and particularly for if you can do something about it we need
to start early, but….we have been saying that for many years and we haven’t succeeded
and you have actually made, to my mind, a much greater impression on the community than
most people have. How, what’s the secret?>>RW: First of all, I did shows and I, for
a hundred and eighty shows, again I did it because of the posters, and I took the shows
not just from the NHS, I took them to real theatres so they went to Australia; New Zealand;
and Cape Town; and America and in the second half the audience stand up and they can speak
and it was such a relief I didn’t know that would work, that people could finally say
in front of each other, like one guy from Newcastle “I haven’t told my wife I’m
on medication for 20 years”, and she went, she’s sitting next to him and somebody else
would say “My son committed suicide, I couldn’t get him to a hospital in time”, somebody
else would be amusing, somebody else would say have “I bipolar too”, you know and
it became a kind of club and, suddenly the shame lifted because you were with your type.>>PF: So you think it’s stigma at the heart
of it, is stigma, is us not being able to in some way tolerate the fact that we have
something problematic?>>RW: Well maybe there for the grace of God
go I, you know because if it’s not you it’s your mother, if it’s not your mother it’s
your cousin, so again it’s too much fear. Anyway what happened was, the audience started,
as the years went by, because I’ve done it for eight years, they started to get more
and more articulate, and then I’d have walk-in centres on my day off where you spoke, and
then I’d provide volunteers, so they, they don’t know how to get a therapist and they
don’t want to admit anything’s wrong, and now they could compare notes. So do you mind
me just saying something? OK, because this is relevant to myself, is that I felt that
people, rather than online would really like to meet each other because there’s such
relief, you know, part of the cure is meeting your own people. So I started something which
is just in the infancy, do you mind me saying it? We’re opening Frazzled Cafés, which will
be like AA throughout the UK, and so if anyone here would like to get involved, especially
being, if you’re connected to mental health, one of the facilitators, could I give you
a website? OK, and so far it’s worked, I mean there’s such a relief in people, they network,
they have buddy systems, the whole thing. I have a name for the buddy system, but I
won’t say it here it’s in my book! [Laughter]. Alright, so it’s, if you go rubywax.net…what’s
that thing?>>PF: Forward slash.>>RW: /frazzledcafés, and just say you’re
interested in maybe facilitation because you’ve talked to me, so it’s Ruby Wax….just go
to my website it’ll lead you there rubywax.net/frazzledcafés, I’m sorry I had to push it but to me that’s
you know, that’s the only way I can figure out that we can all meet and when we all meet
maybe we’ll have some power, because as long as people are in isolation you know it’s
the gay movement did it in my lifetime and now they’re everywhere! [Laughter] You know,
in the Army; in politics; hairdressing; everywhere! [Laughter] So I’m thinking, if we could
maybe get together, but this is the baby stage, then we would have some say, and there would
be parity between, I know you were talking about it, mental and physical disabilities.>>PF: Yes. You said that we have to remember
that we are all unique….just like everyone else as Margaret Mead said. So we are all
unique. We all have a particular way of being helped, but at the same time, you move towards
and I think that’s really admirable, towards evidencebased help. You looked for what there
was good evidence for and sought help in that domain. Would you, how could you help in the
context of your Frazzled Café to move people to help people to get more evidencebased help?>>RW: You know, you have to have a specific
niche, so this niche is just for people to meet their own kind, it’s not for somebody
who is seriously ill, and to me, when somebody’s seriously in the trough of mental health,
I don’t know how you can do therapy, because you haven’t got a mind to do therapy on.
If anybody tells you to do physical exercise, tell them to, you know, or eat grapefruits,
it’s not relevant, it’s a real disease, you know it’s like, it’s as real as Alzheimer’s,
and you know and people are, hip now to say not go up to somebody with Alzheimer’s and
say, “Come on you remember where you parked your car”, so it’s a real disease. I want
people to meet, not when they’re deeply depressed, but you know who have an experience
with maybe their kid they don’t know what to do and people would stand up I’d say
“Meet your own kind”, I can’t answer these questions, and so that’s a little niche. I
guess, you know the research, as soon as the stigma drops then people will volunteer, so
I’m not asking people to do research.>>PF: No, but I think, what I think we appreciate
so much about what you’ve done for mental health, is to kind of get it out of the closet
to try and say, well look this something is a problem that a lot of us have and we have
ways of tackling it, you find different ways of tackling it, complex reasons why people
have it. In terms of getting people together though, what do you think it is that the community
that you want to create can do to support individuals with mental health problems?>>RW: Well, so many things tell me if I’m
wrong the government, I don’t want to bitch them.>>PF: No, no not here!>>RW: You know again I don’t think there’s
a strong enough identity for people to, you know, raise their hands and say “This is
really urgent”. I hear things. You hear things. I don’t know if they hear things to
understand that, OK, don’t do anything for the kid now but in 20 years when you get mugged
or even worse, it’s because you didn’t shape that kid’s brain, and again, you know this,
people think that we used to come into the world the way we go out, but there is this
buzz word, not buzz word, there’s a reality called neuroplasticity, so they understand
that if you get the kid early their brain is like chewing gum you can reshape it, and
that you know you rewire, if that was known, then there’s a reason to get these kids
early. And again, what are the statistics for kids? Now it’s accelerated because there–>>PF: 1 in 10?>>RW: 1 in 10 and what was it?>>PF: What do you mean, it’s always been 1
in 10, as far as I know, but maybe it was less before, but I don’t know?.>>RW: Yes but there wasn’t cutting when I
grew up.>>PF: Ah, right.>>RW: And there wasn’t a lot of, you know,
these kids are under more pressure than I ever was, because you know you can get this
or this. Now that’s going to drive them, and teachers don’t deal with it, and the parents
are the ones that screw them up, so where do they go? So again I think it’s urgent that
why does the government not understand that the brain is possible, you know, to reshape
if you get them young enough, you’d save a lot on that ADHD, the OCD, all of this can
be dealt with early and it wouldn’t drain the funds.>>PF: I know, you’ve done, you are speaking
to the choir here; I think you are, I totally agree with you. But let’s just for a moment
get personal again, how far do you think you have travelled along this journey? You talked
about having a mental health problem.>>RW: Yes.>>PF: Working yourself out of it, creating
really, a very, very creative product out of it that actually helped many, many, many
other people. Where are you now?>>RW: Er….well….without explaining it,
they can, you know, figure it out. I do Mindfulness, you know other things work for different people.>>PF: So, tell us a little bit about it, how
does that work for you, how does it work?>>RW: Well without explaining Mindfulness,
it does work with the rumination, it doesn’t get rid of stress but again you have a tool,
unless you want me to tell you how you do it in a sentence? That. a) it helps, when
I’m in a situation if I’m nervous here or I’m coming on stage, within the situation
or if you were scared of public speaking or somebody is about to kick your behind in,
there is a way of cooling down this and you do it on your own. By the way you have to
practice, everybody wants a weekend workshop, but you don’t get a six pack with one sit
up, so people all want a magic pill, but you know even with your job they can’t come once.>>PF: Yes.>>RW: [Laughs] OK so [Laughter] you have to
practice it, I can’t, I’m not going to explain it but it does bring my, the cortisol down
and another thing it does, is it, I know this is throw, it helps you focus, because when
that red mist is up there you can’t focus, you can’t show empathy, your mind is busy.
So I think that I’m able to pay more attention where I want to be, like when my kids were
growing up they always say to me “What was I like when I was five?” And I go “Don’t
tell me, I know the name!” Because I was on, I thought they wouldn’t see that my fingers
were still, you know typing, so I think now when I talk to them I’m aware, it’s the overview
that I’m doing this and then I can really focus, now they think I’m a whole new person
but another example is: where I live my life in a kind of sleepwalking state, I was in
Australia and there was an eclipse of the moon of the sun and it only happens every
200 years, and so it’s happening and all I can think of is what I’m going to say to the
White Company because I’m so angry they’ve given me a single duvet instead of a double!
[Laughter] So I missed the entire eclipse because that’s….wherever your mind is, even
if you’re on holiday if your mind is in the office, that’s where it is, so people
say “Well what’s with the tension?” And I go “That’s worth living for”. But then
I’m not perfect, you know when it doesn’t happen because I will it, sometimes when I’m
really frightened and the cortisol bubbles up and we’re all human, I go back to what
I was like when I was, you know, a small child, which is….so there’s a little bit in my
book, can I read to you? This is what happens, even though I do Mindfulness every day I can
resort back to who I used to be, you do break your habits but they are so ingrained, you
know that. Should I read you this?>>PF: Sorry?>>RW: Shall I read you this? Because this
sums up what, what my habits are.>>PF: No, I think people are–>>RW: It’s from my book, it’s hilarious! [Laughter]
It’s hilarious! Do you want me to read it or?>>PF: OK if it’s hilarious. OK.>>RW: OK. Maybe I don’t have it, are we ready
to finish?>>PF: We are ready to ask the audience if
they have any questions?>>RW: All right OK well get my book it’s on
page 87! It’s hilarious! [Laughter].>>PF: Let’s see if people have questions to
you. Is there a roving mic somewhere? There’s a question over there and a question over
there….over there first. Just, mic is coming to you.>>FROM THE FLOOR: I saw, does it work? Yeah.
I saw you in Edinburgh about eight years ago and it was over, you were over at the Italian
restaurant across the road and the family loved you, they were like really happy and
then I saw you do this show and I thought wow! And to see you still doing it now is
really good. I’m a, I have borderline personality disorder and I’m a mental health service user
rep, and Black Dog Tribe.>>RW: Yes.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Have been helping us promote
an urgent care project in Manchester that we’re doing as service users and the way
that they’ve supported us in that, I’ve come here today to say thank you, for everything
that you do for us and everything you’ve said really resonates, so please, I know those
days are really bad and horrible, but please carry on fighting for us, and then yesterday
I spoke to Jeremy Hunt, on, like this and about mentalisation based therapy, it changed,
it changed me.>>RW: You created that, you created it.>>FROM THE FLOOR: It changed me because I
was in A&E all the time, 80, 90 times, I had a nurse tell me one time, I was wrestled down
by the police, with this nurse over me saying “You know exactly what you are doing”
and then I had mentalisation based therapy and it was very expensive and, but it really
worked and I put this to Jeremy Hunt yesterday and his office have taken it back, and they’re
going to get back to me. So I’m hoping that we can do something to try and make sure,
because it saves so much money. It will save people going into hospital where they learn
bad behaviour, the cutting and everything like that, and it will save so many families
lives so thank you.>>RW: You are welcome, thanks. Can I just
say that Peter [Applause ] thanks, he founded it along with Bateman, he found or created
mentalisation, so this is the horse’s mouth. Do you want to say?>>PF: [Neighs]?>>RW: Do you want to say what it is? Do you
want to say–>>PF: No I do not, I want to take a question
from over there.>>RW: Well go see him afterwards. Change your
life. So thank you.>>PF: It is enormously gratifying, I could
feel, tearing up a bit, but anyway….>>RW: Another question.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Thank you Ruby, it’s nice
to see you again I was with you in Stockholm two years’ ago at the Mindfulness conference.>>RW: Oh yes.>>FROM THE FLOOR: And you know what? You changed
my life. Because you just said something to me today, that when I was a fiveyear old kid
I knew I was different, but I didn’t know what it was. So I’ve been practicing Mindfulness
for 20 years and for me it’s a complete way of life, which has absolutely changed my life.
So, thank you. [Applause].>>PF: Thank you.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hi Ruby I’m Krishna, and
I work in the NHS in Learning Disability. But one of the things I’m really interested
in is how you get into different communities? Because there’s a lot of stigma around mental
health in Asian communities and that’s something I really struggle with. And how do you reach
out to those communities where they maybe aren’t accessing online things, just because
there’s so many people hidden away, and I think that’s a really massive issue?>>RW: Could, could, could he answer?>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yes.>>CHAIR: No, you can answer.>>RW: No, no, I don’t know, that’s your domain.>>CHAIR: Stigma?>>RW: What? Yes, how do you get, let’s say…>>PF: In to the Asian communities.>>RW: In to the Asian communities?>>CHAIR: Well, well.>>RW: It’s your baby.>>CHAIR: You’ve got to have people in the
Health Service who are part of those communities, the Health Service ought to reflect the community
that it serves, and I don’t think we’re there yet. So we have to have a positive recruitment
campaign.>>RW: No answer! No, he’s….thank you.
But if you, this is tiny, tiny, if you do come to the Frazzled Café and you meet other
people, or you can be put in touch with other people with that, you know, with that, wanting
to look at that agenda, we can put you together. I mean it’s a small thing, but I really do
think it is meeting your tribe.>>PF: Question over there.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Thank you, hi so over in
Camp Expo today we are looking at what dreams for the nation are. So one of my dreams is
to have a mental health first aider in every workplace, the same way that there’s a physical
health first aider. So Ruby would you have a dream that you would love to see in the
nation?>>RW: Say what yours is.>>FROM THE FLOOR: So mine is to have a mental
health first aider, so trained by the mental health first aider network in every workplace,
in the same way that there is a physical health first aider in every workplace.>>RW: Well, I would say mine is the same and
in schools. Because as you say, I think in America you can have that you’re a criminal
on your CV and still get a job, but good luck in this country! Cause, you’re, it’s kind
of a conundrum, you know if the, if your insurance finds out, or whatever, and also you’re
ostracised, so I think getting parity in the workplace is pretty much the most important
thing and it would also show the government taking it seriously.>>PF: Question over there.>>RW: Has somebody got the mic? Or have you
stolen it?>>PF: Yes. It’s quite hard to see the….>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hello?>>RW: Where are you?>>FROM THE FLOOR: I’m over here.>>RW: Oh hi.>>PF: Alright.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hi, we talk about sort of
integrating mental health and physical health, how about flipping that on its head and how
do you see Mindfulness helping physical health?>>RW: The guy who came up who brought this
whole concept to the west is called Jon Kabat-Zinn, and his, he worked at Massachusetts University
Hospital, his first patients were people who are suffering from acute pain, and would you
look in that book? That was the first thing, and then my Professor along with a few others
took it to a psychological intervention. So, unless I explain to you Mindfulness but it
does have to do with, people with the pain when you focus rather than try to ignore it,
when you really bring the attention into a, the physical, the mind does quiet down. You’re
never, you’re never blank, when you’re blank you’re dead. That’s a good clue. But
it does train you to take your focus where you need to, and when you actually focus on
how you, how, what anxiety feels like, or where the pain is you realise you aren’t
in pain again. It’s not all over, and you actually when you focus see that it’s transient
just as the voices are. But it takes a lot of work, and to me, you know when people really
focus on it the rest of their body can tense up, so you’ve got a broken leg but now you
have a heart attack. So it is a technique again, try your own but it’s taking the rumination
and focusing it into the body. I mean the body can carry it but your brain can’t, and
it does deal with pain. It’s called “Mindfulness based stress reduction” Jon Kabat-Zinn.
So have a–>>FROM THE FLOOR: Do you think we can get
that into physical health? Do you think it’s a possibility?>>RW: Well there is Mindfulness now approved
by the, by NICE, so I guess you know, what?>>PF: For depression.>>RW: For depression, but I think it would
be helpful if in physiotherapy they would include that because again, with a lot of
things now you are dependent on somebody, you are dependent and that’s draining. If
you can do something on your own, a little bit, it gives you a little bit of power, yes?>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yes, definitely. Thank you.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hello. I work for the NHS
in communications, but I’ve also suffered from depression for about 12 years, as have
most of my family. Do you think having gone through a mental health issue that you can
ever be cured of it, or do you always think you’re going to be battling against it? :RW>>Peter? :PF>>[Laughs] Well I think the issue isn’t
one of, as Ruby has really very clearly told us now, the issue isn’t one of cure, the
issue really is how well are you managing? Can you live your life in a productive functional
way? And then you know you have a problem and my own personal depression I don’t think
will ever leave me, I know it’s there, but I kind of live a reasonably productive life,
as does Ruby. The issue to me is so much about what you are able to make of what you come
with. Mental health intervention, I don’t know whether you would agree with me about
this Ruby? Is not about–>>RW: Curing.>>PF: Curing, it’s about trying to make a
person recover so that they live their life to the fullest extent. Would you agree with
that?>>RW: Yes but don’t, it’s just as agonising,
you know it’s, it’s….pain is pain, but suffering is optional somebody said.>>PF: Yes.>>RW: You get it but I have to say when I,
after, when I did get it, two years ago, it was quicker, I didn’t sit in a chair for months
on end, too terrified to move, as I say I ducked and some of the abuse went over, some
of it hit me in the heart, but it was quicker. Because it’s the cortisol again that exasperates
this thing so you just, you learn techniques but don’t kid yourself, it’s still agony but
not so long.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Thank you.>>PF: Here….there’s a question here.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Thank you so much, you’re
giving us a brilliant illustration of how to be depressed and to rise above it, and
to realise you might go back, and you’re going to do it again, and I think that your staying
power and your humour is utterly brilliant because you are bringing out something which
we’re not going to get elsewhere, and I, please, carry on.>>RW: Thank you [Applause] Are we supposed
to finish now? [Laughs].>>PF: I think we have got to go out on a high
note. We have time for a couple more questions if there are….could you wait for the microphone
please?>>RW: Running, running, like the wind!>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hi my name’s Elaine Stephenson
from the Fit for Work team. We work with people who are unemployed or employed with, with
health condition, most of whom have mental health issues. So I was wondering what would
be your advice to, for people to, for them to be able to remain in, return to, return
to work, or move into work, what, what advice would you give them?>>RW: You mean they’re at work, but they
still are suffering?>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yes.>>RW: That’s tough.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Or they’ve, or they’ve,
they’re out of work because of the condition but they want to get back into work, or, or
they’ve got a condition therefore they, they’ve stopped working but want to go back
to work.>>RW: Well again, the law has to change and,
you know, If you get pregnant quickly because you will get some time off [Laughter] but
the fear, of somebody leaving for, they think they are never coming back or when they do
come back they’ll be insane. So it is the law. I couldn’t say, you know at this point,
as I said, I never told anybody at work for fear, so I can’t really say yeah you come
out and say it. We all have to come out and say it. So.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Thank you.>>RW: Yeah.>>PF: Did you ever have to work when you were
feeling depressed, seeing, working with people who were depressed, working….?>>RW: Once I did that, I was, I was in, I
was in a hospital, and I lost my, you know, my job, and but they did allow me to do a
show, a presentation on the internet called “Ruby’s Room”, like, you know, I think
at a certain age you’re not allowed on TV.>>PF: Yeah.>>RW: You know, it’s like fruit that went
off.>>PF: I wouldn’t know, yes. [Laughter].>>RW: Anyway, they don’t, unless you are playing
a cancer victim then they allow you after a certain age. So they allowed me to have
a show, a presentation on the internet called “Ruby’s Room” and every week I would have
a different person with a different pathology come to my house, I would open the door, and
they, you know, my cat would be, my kids would be all over them and they’d come and sit
down and I’d interview them and of course they’re my people, so we, a lot of us bonded,
but my first guest was somebody with depression and I was in the hospital so I left, I was
too scared to say I had depression that I’d maybe lose my job so my husband came and picked
me up from the hospital, I put lipstick on here, all the inmates said “This is crazy”,
which is, you know, high praise, so I went home, I interviewed somebody with depression,
having depression, with sweat running down my face and you could see them looking “You’re
more f****d than I am!”. [Laughter] Anyway when it was over, I, I went back to the hospital,
I got a round of applause there so that’s real fear, again, I can’t say show up at work,
I don’t know how you do it. Luckily I don’t have a 9 to 5 job so when I was really ill
I’d say I was in a, you know, I had a cold. A long cold. So I don’t know how you do that
when you do have a 9 to 5 job.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Hi, I just wanted to talk
about the link between grief and bereavement and depression. I’ve just put together a
new charity called The Good Grief Trust, I’m trying to put together a new bereavement pack
and website to go through hospitals and hospices everywhere. I’m just really inspired by
the café that you put together, the Frazzled Cafe, because I think at the moment we need
to talk about grief, depression, bereavement in the same umbrella really and it would be
great to be able to put together a café that we can go and talk about our grief and, you
know, obviously because there’s a massive link with that. I didn’t know whether, what
you thought about Mindfulness if you are suffering through grief and bereavement do you think
that might help?>>RW: Again, the chances are pretty good because
you are dealing with watching the emotion rather than being at the mercy of it. So,
I would try it. One thing I don’t agree with is if somebody’s in grief, that they should
have antidepressants, because as I say again, you don’t take insulin for a tooth ache, so
there has to be a distinction, but I, I, there are bereavement support groups and your heart
is so painful that, I mean, again you should meet your own kind. If you can’t, then come
to the Frazzled Café, you’re welcome to talk about it you will find people that’ll
give you empathy, but I really think be with your own people if you can.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yeah, I absolutely believe
that support groups is the way.>>RW: Yeah.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yeah there’s an amazing
charity called Widowed and Young actually for people who have lost a partner–>>RW: Widowed young?>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yeah and it’s exactly it’s
that peer to peer support and talking about your own experiences with people who understand>>RW: Yeah.>>FROM THE FLOOR: That I think is the key
to any sort of healing, and going forward with anything, either it’s depression or grief.>>RW: Well you don’t feel alone.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yeah.>>RW: And that’s the most important.>>FROM THE FLOOR: Yeah, OK, fine.>>THE CHAIR: Ruby, thank you very much.>>RW: And Peter!>>THE CHAIR: Yeah I’m coming to that. [Laughter]
Thank you very much for everything you’ve done, there is no doubt in my mind that you
have done a huge amount for the stigma around mental health, and I think getting psychological
therapies out there in the same way I think is a jolly good thing. So can everybody put
their hands together for Peter Fonagy and Ruby Wax. [Applause] Thank you. [Applause].

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