Jo Brand receives honorary doctorate

Comedian, Jo Brand, has today received an honorary doctoral degree from Birmingham City University, in recognition of her work in raising awareness around mental health.

The university explains: "With a successful entertainment career spanning over 25 years, Jo has entertained a whole host of audiences. However, comedy wasn't Jo's original career choice and prior to this she trained as a mental health nurse at the Maudsley and Royal Bethlem Hospitals in London. As a psychiatric nurse, Jo was based at the Emergency Clinic of the Maudsley in South London where she led the Nurse Team as Senior Charge Nurse.

"Jo continues to raise awareness around mental health issues and is a keen supporter of a range of charities which earned her the Third Sector Award for Celebrity Charity Champion in 2014."

On receiving her award, Jo said: "I'm delighted to receive an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University and I do thank the University for this recognition. Birmingham is one of my favourite places to perform because the audiences are always so friendly and they laugh a lot!"

Speaking about some of the challenges faced by mental health professionals, she highlighted that stigma still existed which prevented people from talking about it. She said: "I think one of the problems around mental health is, it is in reality a lack of funding and I'm not blaming that on anyone in particular. I also couple that with the stigma that still exists around mental health which is that people are still ashamed to talk about it and to admit it.

"So I think the more we can bring it out in the open the better and then hopefully governments will recognise the importance of funding it in the way that other services are funded as well."

Her doctorate was presented in front of hundreds of students also graduating from the University's Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences. She also joked of her pleasure at receiving the doctorate and talked of the importance of the nursing profession. She said: "Obviously to get a doctorate and be able to swan around and annoy people that are much more intelligent than me is really great.

"I think it's absolutely essential that we keep providing new nurses. And what I would say to new nurses is, don't forget the actual nursing component. Because I think when you have a degree and you are very skilled and have the knowledge of nursing it's very easy to forget that you also need to be a kind person and you also need to do the not so glamourous stuff as well."


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