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Teachers need to have better awareness of signs of mental illness

19 June 2019

By Kyle Tagg Writer and comedian Ruby Wax OBE has called for teachers to have a better awareness of the signs of mental illness. The recent Oxford University graduate said that everyone should be given the option to learn about the brain, and that teachers in particular should be able to ‘spot the signs’ of a child with developing mental issues. Having had a stage and broadcasting career spanning thirty years, she has also completed a Masters in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. During her talk at the AoC Conference today [Wednesday], she said: “Nowadays we know absolutely everything about technology, but we know nothing about our brains.” “With that in mind, we need to upgrade our brains as much as we do our iPhones.” Despite being ‘really surprised’ that young people don’t have the option to be taught about mindfulness in mainstream education, she did go on to praise methods used in some areas. “In some schools children hold up red cards when they are angry, then yellow when they start to calm down. This is a great way of introducing the idea of mental health.” The talk came prior to the launch of her new initiative run in cooperation with retailer Marks & Spencer’s. The ‘Frazzled Café’ project, which is due to launch in the New Year, will allow people suffering from mental issues to meet anonymously with other people like themselves. “It isn’t therapy,” she explained. “Groups of people will be able to meet anonymously every two weeks in M&S Cafes to discuss their different issues and those that they have in common.” “It will be open to all ages and run in the areas which attract the most attention.” Anyone looking for more information about the scheme can find it via Kyle Tagg is an Exeter College student on work experience at AoC's Annual Conference.