Ruby Wax, OBE
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.
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.
She 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.
After sell-out shows in London, Australia and Cape Town, Ruby is continuing her hard work creating awareness about mental health through her UK theatre tour in May and June, where she invites the audience to share their own experiences and build a network of support and advice within the performance. She will also be appearing at a number of mental health conferences this year, including the National Mindfulness Conference and joining keynote speakers such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama at ‘Happiness and it’s Causes’ in Australia in June.
“How can anyone with the surname Wax possibly be given an OBE?! And she's a bloody foreigner. Delighted! Well deserved.” – Sir Richard Branson
“Ruby is unique: she's funny, smart, painfully honest, and above all, she is determined. She wants everyone to be happy and comfortable with who they are, and to be mindful. She's a communicator and an explainer. She really does deserve all the honours that come her way.” - Neil Gaiman
“Well deserved congratulations to Ruby” – Sir Ian McKellen
“Fantastic news! Does this mean she’s a Dame?” – Carrie Fisher
“Ruby’s campaigning on mental health issues, through TV, shows and her book, reveals her rare skill of being able to speak of the deepest and most painful things with openness, wisdom and humour, bringing acute observations and fresh perspectives to a field that badly needs them. There are millions of people who have loved her for her laughter, and now there are many more who, having suffered in silence, have been helped to realise that they are not alone.” – Prof. Mark Williams, Ruby’s Professor and Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychology and Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Oxford, co-founder of Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy
‘Ruby has always been a star in my firmament, and although she can make your ribs ache with laughter she can also wrench your head round to see the darkness in the world, and how to deal with it. No-one deserves to be recognised more. I hope she will have a very large copy of the medal made, and will wear it on her shoulder like a parrot. I adore her.’ – Joanna Lumley
“The silencing stigma surrounding mental illness has always been a major obstacle in our attempts to find healing solutions. Over time, society is generally beginning to realise that by bringing the issue out from the shadows and isolation, we can begin to reduce the associated fear and shame - creating a first significant step forwards towards improved mental health. Ruby has found a bridge to connect this message to people through her books and bravely "audacious” public dialogue. She has lived it personally – worked it and earned the T shirt!” – Annie Lennox
“I am so happy that Ruby Wax is being recognised for her incredible work to de-stigmatise and explain mental illness which is thought to affect a quarter of the world.” – Jemima Khan
“Ruby’s explorations of her mental journey are pithy, profound, poignant and perspicacious but also hilariously funny. She’s now using her brilliant communication skills to help all of us live a saner life in this crazy, chaotic world. Ruby is a national treasure. She so deserves this OBE, not just for the joy she's brought British audiences for decades, but also for helping us confront our dark sides too.” – Kathy Lette
“For the past decade Ruby Wax has laid her own life bear in order to encourage change in our understanding of Mental Health. There is nothing glamorous about being a poster girl for this issue, but she has embraced the role with rigour, intelligence, honesty, wisdom, compassion and determination. I am in awe of her commitment to encouraging debate about the subject by using her own understanding, strength and vulnerability. She is magnificent.” - Emma Freud
“Ruby deserves this award and more. She has managed to turn her own experiences into a life affirming message for others and to demystify much of the hocus pocus which surrounds mental health. I couldn't be more thrilled for her.” – Sandi Toksvig