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M&S launches new 'Frazzled' café for customers to discuss mental health

Marks & Spencers will host drop ins every fortnight for customers to open up about their mental health

With 1 in 4 people in the UK suffering from a mental illness at some point during their lives and many currently suffering, it has never been more important to lift the taboo on mental health.

It's easier said than done, especially with the British stiff upper lip crippling us - but there are more important things in life. Like staying alive.

M&S are opening 11 Frazzled cafés in store (Credit: Frazzled)

Thankfully, more and more things are being done to combat the stigma, but more can always be done to stop the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 - suicide.

Founded by comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, the Frazzled cafés are currently in 11 Marks & Spencers stores across the UK.

Once a fortnight, a session will be held by trained volunteers in M&S cafés for people to go who are feeling frazzled to talk about their feelings.

The supermarket giant is doing its bit to tackle the stigma around mental health (Credit: Getty Images)

The Frazzled site says: "It's not just for the one-in-four of us who will suffer from mental illness at some point in our lives; it is for the four-in-four feeling frazzled and overwhelmed by the stresses of modern life.

"Frazzled Cafe provides a safe, anonymous and non-judgemental environment where people who are feeling frazzled can meet on a regular basis to talk and share their personal stories."

As the initiative is still in its trial stages, there are only 11 stores offering the sessions - there will be three in London, then others in Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Nottingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Canterbury and Norwich.

Ruby 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 Café is about people coming together to share their stories, calmly sitting together, stating their case and feeling validated as a result."

M&S has teamed up with comedian and mental health awareness campaigner Ruby Wax (Credit: Getty Images)

She also blogged for The Huffington Post UK, writing: "These meetings are for people like you and me and everyone who feels frazzled from the burden of everyday life.

"Often we don't want to tell our relations or friends how we're feeling because we worry that we're a burden. People at the Frazzled Cafés listen to you and care. What's said at those meetings stays in those meetings."

M&S retail director Sacha Berendji said: "This 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."

Ruby launching the Frazzled café (Credit: Twitter/ Ruby Wax)

The Frazzled site stresses that the sessions are not a replacement for therapy sessions, and that if someone is suffering from serious mental illness, "it may not be appropriate to attend".

We don't know about you, but a cuppa and a willing ear sounds pretty nice to us.

Would you be interested in attending the Frazzled café? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

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