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Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Ruby Wax to host fortnightly mental health sessions throughout M&S cafes

Written by Josie Clarke

Marks & Spencer is to host fortnightly mental health chat sessions in 11 stores as part of a project fronted by comedian and campaigner Ruby Wax

The Frazzled Cafe meetings will allow people to meet to talk and share personal stories "in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment", the retailer announced.

The stores will include three in London, alongside Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury and Norwich, with more locations to be added throughout the year.

The sessions will take place in M&S cafes after hours and will be led by trained volunteer facilitators.

Frazzled Cafe was successfully trialled in M&S offices and stores last year as part of the company's Plan A eco and ethical initiative.

Wax, who announced the launch 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 cafe network is a huge boost."

Sacha Berendji, retail director at M&S, 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 cafe has closed, we can help any members of the community who simply need to talk about things and what's happening in their lives."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Ian West / PA Wire.