Ruby Wax OBE

Ruby Wax OBE

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Mental Health Campaigner; Communication Expert

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A qualified psychotherapist, Ruby has made the leap from brash television star to respected campaigner, writer and communications expert. She shows how leadership skills can be taught then honed like a muscle, and how techniques she used in celebrity interviews translate directly into the boardroom – witness the clip of her talking to Madonna. The Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year also talks about her work to raise awareness and public understanding about depression and mental illness, and how to cope better with the stresses of the modern world.


Ruby Wax has been an unconventional interviewer, a comedian, writer, actor, and campaigner. She has provided the cartoon voice of The Pope, written for Absolutely Fabulous, and interviewed Donald Trump. She fronted a two-part Channel 5 series Castaway which saw her stranded on an uninhabited tropical island with only body-cams and a handheld camera for her to talk to. Ruby is also a best-selling memoirist and mental health expert. 

Having studied psychology in her native US she took the unusual move to then study acting in the UK. Ruby joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and formed a writing and directing partnership with Alan Rickman before moving to TV and film. She found her niche in comedy, working with the likes of Tracey Ullman and French & Saunders. She then took on a series of interview shows where she had revealing, enertaining, and sometimes awkward conversations with Madonna, Imelda Marcos, Pamela Anderson, and Richard Branson.

Ruby struggled with depression for many years and having suffered in silence, she worked hard to encourage media, business, and society to understand mental illness and remove the stigma. After touring her live show Losing It, in which she spoke candidly about her illness, she realised audiences frequently shared many of the same experiences but needed ‘permission’ to talk openly about it. The show inspired her book Sane New World, a look at why so many people felt it was all too much.

Her follow-up, A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled, aimed to help minds that are ill-equipped to cope with the modern-day pressures of overwhelming amounts of information, stress and never having enough time. How to be Human is an honest look at how the stress in our lives affects us and what we can do about it. Ruby wrote this book in conjunction with a monk, who explains how the mind works, and gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us 'us' in the brain.

With her trademark wit and forthrightness Ruby dispels the myth that there is something embarrassing or weird about any type of mental health problem. She tackles some of the more off-putting aspects of mindfulness focusing on the practical aspects that can help people deal with the stresses of life before they become intolerable. As well as speaking about mental health Ruby also tackles problems of communication within businesses and organisations, especially for leaders. Combining psychological insights with her understanding of writing and performing, and of course humour, she helps individuals and groups understand how to create an open, honest culture that encourages and succeeds.

Ruby holds a Masters in Psychology and is a Visiting Professor in Mental Health Nursing at the University of Surrey. She’s also a patron for the British Neuroscience Association, has worked with the Home Office to raise awareness of mental health, and has collaborated with Google on how technology can aid mindfulness. Her acclaimed TED speech on the importance of viewing mental health on a par with physical health is one of the most popular on the subject.

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Book written by Ruby Wax OBE
Book written by Ruby Wax OBE
Book written by Ruby Wax OBE
Book written by Ruby Wax OBE