The fantastic Suzi Ruffell has joined CALM as an ambassador – so we caught up with her to chat about why talking is so important, starring in Comedy Against Living Miserably and how she’s made too much banana bread during lockdown.
During Suzi’s brilliant Nocturnal tour she tackled all of the things that keep you up at night. “Every night when I said the line ‘If you don’t have anxiety I don’t think you’re concentrating’ it would always get a massive laugh which to me means ‘Yeah, I agree’. Talking about anxiety in a public forum makes people realise a lot of people have ups and downs with mental health and there is no shame in that.”
Suzi’s stand up shows have covered grief, heartbreak and anxiety, all with a humour and honesty that make her the perfect ambassador for us. You may have seen her at her own shows, on Live at the Apollo or listened to her podcast Like Minded Friends which she makes with her mate Tom Allen. We’ve loved each one and it’s one of the reasons we’re so thrilled she’s agreed to be an ambassador. Luckily for us, she seems equally as excited:
“I’m very proud to become an ambassador for CALM, I think you do incredible work. As a comedian I am someone who shares parts of their life on stage, the good and the bad (often after time the bad is funnier).”
She knows first hand the benefit of talking things out and that’s one of the reasons that inspired her to join up with us. “Talking about my own mental health has been something that has helped me and I know from tweets, messages and people sticking around after the show, it has helped others too. After meeting the CALM team I knew it was something I wanted to be part of and as a LGBT person (where suicide and self harm rates are higher than average) I am very excited to be involved.”
You’ll also see her performing on Comedy Against Living Miserably on Dave (22 April, 9pm). Together with the amazing Nish Kumar, Seann Walsh and Darren Harriott, Suzi performs and also discusses delicate issues, where the comedians open up about what they’ve been through and explore the humour in what can seem dark situations.
“It’s a brilliant line up, the comics do stand up routines about their own mental health and there’s also a round table where we discuss our experiences. Opening up that much on national television is easily one of the scariest things I have done, but I feel like it’s important and I really hope it helps some people. I was delighted to share the stage with three people who are also my friends.”
One of the issues she discusses is online trolling, something she’s had to deal with a lot. “It’s gross and it makes you feel awful, but I think it says a lot more about the person trolling than it does about me. I have grown to feel sorry for people who shout at others online, it must be very hard to be so miserable that you feel the need to intimidate or belittle people online.”
As someone who has been open about their battles with anxiety we asked Suzi about the best ways she’s found to combat those feelings. “I find talking about anxiety really helps. Exercise works for me too, CrossFit, Yoga or just going for a walk.”
And during Lockdown those things are increasingly important. “It’s been ups and downs. I am very lucky to be in lockdown with my partner, I think it must be very hard feeling isolated alone or indeed with someone you don’t want to be isolated with. I am listening to a lot of podcasts and I am really enjoying my daily walks. I am lucky enough to live near a massive park. I am learning to run 5K (slowly) and having zoom chats with friends which are really helping. Like the rest of the UK I have also made more banana breads than necessary.”
You can watch Suzi in Comedy Against Living Miserably on April 22 at 9pm on Dave.
Need support? Worried about someone? CALM’s helpline and webchat are open daily 5pm-midnight. Get access here.
Have you been affected by suicide? The Support After Suicide Partnership is a hub for anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, where you can find emotional and practical support.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.